Racing to Beirut to answer a distress call from a beautiful double agent, British spymaster David Jardine is caught in a Mossad ambush and agrees to help them catch an international counterfeiter. 25,000 first printing. Major ad/promo.
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British TV writer Smith's second foray into the world of international intrigue is built around the plot of a master counterfeiter to hold the US dollar for ransom and the plans of an unreconstructed KGB splinter group to turn his effort to their own purposes. Smith develops the action along three plotlines. Top British spy David Jardine's career is foundering, partially as the result of events in the first book (Devil's Juggler, 1993). He is therefore delighted to rush to Beirut when he receives a distress signal from an undercover agent he once recruited. But what he finds is that she has been a Mossad double agent all along, and he is informed of an impending financial assault by a legendary, and deadly, Israeli spook. Danny Davidov, a Mossad agent who was kicked out for skimming money off the top of an illegal funding operation, is behind the counterfeit scheme. He has pulled off several successful scams around the world already and, together with his partner, ex-KGB agent Nikolai Kolosov, is in the last stages of setting up his brilliant final caper. Meanwhile, in the States, a partially botched Secret Service sting operation brings Davidov to the attention of the Treasury Department, especially to the sharp eyes of Legal Department whiz Nancy Lucco (whose policeman husband was murdered in the first novel). Suspecting that he is dealing with a rogue element of the Mossad, a wary Jardine travels to Moscow and learns that Kolosov is actually in the employ of an ``old guard'' Communist faction dedicated to the overthrow of the new Russian government. What better way to achieve their ends than to utilize Davidov's scheme, not for ransom, but to wipe out the US economy and provoke worldwide financial disaster? A wild card in all this is the Mafia, more than a little unhappy about having been scammed themselves. Nicely cynical, with satisfying twists and turns. (Book-of- the-Month Club selection) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Even though this far-flung, fast-moving second novel features a higher body count and more betrayals than most Jacobean melodramas, Smith's control of his narrative remains impeccable throughout. The SIS's David Jardine, returning from the author's first spy thriller (Devil's Juggler) but newly plucked from the field and relegated to a desk job, is called to Beirut by his top agent there, only to be kidnapped by the Mossad. The Israelis tip him to two ex-agents (Mossad and KGB) who are running ever more grandiose financial scams with the ultimate goal of wrecking a major world currency. Complicating matters are some betrayals: Jardine's agent (and former lover) Alisha Abdul-Fetteh is doubling for the Israelis, and his boss, Sir Steven McCrae, wants to sack him. The plot focuses alternately on Jardine (who travels to Russia and New York) and the criminal masterminds (who visit St. Petersburg, Sicily, Washington, Fort Knox and New York), with the action climaxing in a bloody cliffhanger set in a Manhattan loft. In the shadows are the Mossad, the KGB, the new Russian mafia and a group of old Communist hardliners, each with its own agenda and each portrayed as vividly as are the scenic backdrops. Even minor characters have terrific bios here; one British spy who aids Jardine is described as "Renfield, to Jardine's Count Dracula." Other touches of humor add to the satisfying fun, but the compelling and appealing center of this very fine thriller remains Jardine, a bit of a scamp but suave, brave, ruthless and smart-just what 007 would like to be if he ever grew up. BOMC alternate selection; major ad/promo.
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