This hasn't the verve or the nerve of The Beria Papers (1974) partly because Kim Philby, that ""temporary embarrassment"" is usually in a state of suspension, alcoholic, during his thirteen-year siesta in Russia, while the story's an itinerant one. Barry Cayle, who tells it (he's a journalist, sent over after the disappearance of another Britisher), wonders who might be the fourth man behind Philby, Burgess and Maclean. Is it Pol, a freebooter-adventurer like Philby, who lives on a far more extravagant level? And what of Pol's connections--with the Russians and with Lennie Maddox, one of those scavengers whose hand is always out so that his palm can be crossed? The novel travels from Russia to Finland to Rhodesia where Philby, the double agent, is about to make the incriminating double disclosure. . . . A readable somewhere between a fictional diddle and Realpolitikal actuality.