British Intelligence operative Peter Ashton returns in Egleton's (Warning Shot, 1997) 27th high-teeh, fact-laden international thriller filled with credible and complex characters in steady, ""steel-plated sentences. Three SIS agents have been murdered in a safe house when Ashton returns from Washington to find his wife Harriet deep into the police investigation of the triple murder (which she discovered). Ashton, who's been sent to Russia once too often, is no longer with SIS and works for the DG only on a freelance basis from time to time. Clearly, Ashton realizes, Harriet, who still works for SIS, is next on the killers' hit list. To protect his wife, Ashton joins the search for them, although SIS itself is undergoing earthquakes in its upper management and seems almost fatally disrupted. As for the slayings, are Cuban gangsters the culprits? Or perhaps Islamic terrorists? Meanwhile, a very strong lead goes straight to Ashton's fabulous old enemy Pavel Treliser, chief of Russian Intelligence. Egleton, with extensive personal experience in the intelligence field, knows firsthand the bureaucratic infighting of which he writes, and has a whole tin of red herrings here to help him out. Edgy, indeed paranoid spy stuff.