A more-than-passing interest in naval history may increase enjoyment of Price's latest spy/mystery/military convolution--but don't count on it. England's highest intelligence echelon is trying to find out the meaning and scope of a possible Russian plot labeled ""Project Vengeful."" Could it have to do with the long English naval tradition of ships named Vengeful? So it seems--as plain, clever spinster/schoolteacher Elizabeth Loftus, whose late Navy father was writing a Vengeful history, becomes embroiled in the sleuthings of Intelligence agent-scholar Paul Mitchell (Soldier No More). Together, with aide-driver Humphrey, Elizabeth and Mitchell crisscross the French countryside, researching an 1812 Vengeful sinking and the fate of her four known survivors. They're shipped back to England--as troublemakers--by the French secret service. And finally, in the house of Mitchell's boss, past and present events come clear to Elizabeth--who's forced into some ruthless action of her own. Even more so than usual with Price: tortuous twists, delivered in an erudite but mannered and oblique style--adding up to precious British suspense that will bore all but an Anglophilic few.