Author Thomas, who likes to mix high-tech action (Firefox; Firefox Down!) with le CarrÃ‰-like moral confusion (Winter Hawk), brings back aged spy Sir Kenneth Aubrey (Lion's Run) for another go at the Russians. In Nepal, where the British are preparing to abandon yet another loyal ally, Royal Army officer Tim Gardiner stumbles on an odd and disturbing presence--a trio of East German uglies consorting with a Red Chinese intelligence officer. Does this gathering of thugs have something to do with the power vacuum created by the British back-out and the impending death of the Nepalese king? Surely intelligence wallah Sir Kenneth Aubrey, Tim's godfather and adviser, will know. But Aubrey, it seems, is in a pickle of his own. He has just been blamed for the botched defection of Kurt Winterbach, only son of Aubrey's East German nemesis--General Brigitte Winterbach. Now Kurt's dead, Brigitte is mad for revenge, and Aubrey's out of a job. When Tim at last gets through to Aubrey, the coincidences seem too amazing. According to Tim, using the East Germans as advance men, the Russians are preparing to ""save"" Nepal in Afghan fashion. Aubrey applies his formidable intellect and memory to Tim's findings, suspecting that all roads lead to the despised British defector, now Soviet General, Andrew Babbington and to Brigitte herself. But no one in British intelligence or Whitehall wants to listen to the disgraced and deranged Aubrey, even when he's the target of a daylight bombing. It seems he'll just have to do everything by himself. . . Another sturdy, reliable thriller for Thomas' devoted fans. The aged Aubrey is surprisingly believable as an energetic and successful spy--and there's some pleasantly ominous South Asian scenery as well.