Espionage readers will again, as with The Chinese Looking Glass and An Eye for the Dragon, have to put up with farfetchedly labyrinthine complications and semi-inscrutable detail if they want to get the Bloodworth benefits--a truly witty edge to the dialogue and a solid journalistic background in things Chinese. Supposedly occurring just prior to Chairman Mao's death, this is (in barest form) the scenario: widowed British agent ""Max"" Magnus, collaborating with American agent Zoe, is assigned to Operation Crosstalk--a plan to discourage Sino-Soviet dÃ‰tente and set the Chinese against the Russians (but not violently) in ""three easy moves."" Max'a tactics involve the fabrication of Soviet anti-Chinese activities in Molucca and Sinkiang, and all goes well till it becomes clear that Someone is onto the operation and using it to foment real friction between Russia and China (a nerve-gas attack on the Chinese politburo?) and trigger nuclear war. And (in case that's too tame for you) agent Zee dreams each disturbing development before it happens, which means lots and lots of dream analysis and blather about psychokinesis, REM, and ESP. Add some lasers, some phasers, and some lesbian motivations in the woodwork, and it's all just a bit too much--no matter how classily British and knowledgeably international the packaging. Bloodworth should be made to write ""Less Is More"" 500 times before tackling his next, hopefully but cautiously awaited, Chi-spyathon.