I read this book about 10-Nov-2004. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1972. This note was last modified Friday, 12-Nov-2004 11:55:15 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I've also got a general page on Anthony Price.
There are more connections between these books than I remembered; for example, this one starts with Hugh Roskill in hospital recuperating from the wound he got at the end of The Alamut Ambush (#2). And if Hugh had been just slightly more recuperated, he would have limped into the situation at Eden Hall and probably gotten burned up.
This is such a Cold War book. The Russians are presumed to be interested in doing anything they can to hurt the West; perhaps they have a preference for clear-cut measurable results, and the risks have to match the estimated returns, but the basic philosophy is "anything to hurt".
There's a nice interweaving of possible plots by both sides, and some discussion of just who is the cat and who is the mouse. Looks like they were trying to slip a sleeper agent into a high position, got caught nearly-pure luck, and are now trying to cover that activity and perhaps also make a profit on related attempts to damage intellectual high-fliers (who, in the UK at the time, were expected to be politically important in the long run).
Also some nice discussion of the Wall, and what it might have been like on various sides of it when it was functional defensive fortification. And a very careful lack of comparison of that wall to the one in Berlin. Or the old one in China, for that matter.
Seeing things from Butler's point of view is very interesting, especially after he's been established in two previous books. I really like the variety of viewpoint characters drawn from the same pool of people. I like seeing people from both the inside and the outside over an extended series.
To here, the internal chronology seem to clearly match publication order. There are clear connections between the books, like Hugh Roskill's wounds.