A rich mix from the redoubtable Kaplan (The Scorpion, 1986; Dragon Fire, 1987), who whips pell-mell action and hot sex into his dense historical thrillers. Kaplan takes the thriller genre at its word, moving as fast as Ludlum but with ten times the eye for settings and crisp characterization--and for such sadistic muck as bursting brains, sex on the edge of death, laughable body count, etc. Here, hard-riding undercover agent Charles Stewart, once a member of the US polo team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, is drawn out of Germany and sent into the flying gore of Buenos Aires by his boss William Donegan (read Wild Bill Donovan, the real-life founder of the OSS), who wants him to look into a leak code-named Raven in the German embassy in Argentina. But Raven is murdered the night before Stewart arrives--in a very messy way involving castration during fellatio. Who murdered Raven? The task of finding the actual leak in the German embassy fades before the need to get Stewart plunged into action scenes and the reader reveling in decadent nightclubs where live sex is performed for gorgeously dressed, pot-smoking Argentinians while sinister international types are given oral sex under the table. At the heart of the plot are a coup against the Argentine government, the planned assassination of President Ortiz, and the German battleship Graf Spee, which waits off the River Plate to help take over the Argentine. Stewart must get word to the British Navy, which indeed does arrive--but the Graf Spee is scuttled before it can be taken. Meanwhile, Stewart falls in with deliriously beautiful, incredibly rich Julia Vargas, who has a fabulously incestuous background and might be called a septuple agent--you can never tell where she stands, only that she'll soon be fumbling at the buttons on Stewart's fly once again, ""her hand squirming in his lap like a little animal."" Wham-bam.