A lengthy, often slow-moving tale from Linder (There Came a Proud Beggar, 1985)—one as concerned with the minutia of modern espionage as with its story of the arrest of a Naval Intelligence specialist acting as an Israeli spy, plus the subsequent efforts of a small band of US intelligence operatives to thwart a plan by the Mossad to rescue him. Readers who expect the traditional trappings of the spy thriller here will find those elements generally obscured by a steady recounting of interagency maneuvering and complex internecine squabbles. FBI Special Agent Matt Blake heads up the team trying to figure out why the Mossad would undertake the rescue of Martin Ellis against all odds. The task is as important as any he's ever undertaken, not least because it is his only hope for earning the promotion he needs to pay for his daughter's marriage. The personal side of things gets even more complicated when his younger daughter becomes romantically involved with the Assistant US Attorney helping Blake, Richard Halpern. Blake's efforts finally manage to pinpoint master spy Dr. Phillip Starfield and the deadly Ephraim Hirsh (who ``travels around the world...and kills people who hurt Jews'') as key players in the Israeli plot. The How and Why are less easily determined, however, especially since there are other betrayals and an unexpected hidden purpose behind all the maneuvering. Linder's style does have a certain charm, which manifests itself as the story unfolds, and the resolution of things is likely to surprise most readers. But at the same time this offers more detail and less action than many will expect or want.
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