Kirkus Star


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After the complex doings of The British Cross (1983), both agent Devereaux of ""Section R"" and his true-love Rita Macklin have gone into solitary hiding-places--since the KGB is still determined to kill Devereaux. Then, however, Devereaux's loved/hated great-aunt Melvina (who raised him) summons him to Chicago: tough old Melvina has been visited by rough KGB agents. . . and she suspects that her Polish-immigrant cleaning lady is something of a spy. Soon, in fact, Devereaux has figured out that the KGB is using scores of immigrants as reluctant agents--with family members held hostage behind the Iron Curtain. More strangely, it seems as if the NSA--""sister"" agency to the CIA, rival of Section R--is fully aware of this immigrant/spy network! So Devereaux, now pursued by both KGB and NSA thugs, glumly sets out to expose the dealings behind the network--sure that he's going to wind up dead (""And he didn't care""), but determined to save the lives of Rita, Polish immigrant/informer Teresa, and Teresa's son/hostage back in Poland. With help from another old flame, Devereaux sneaks Rita out of Washington, stashing her in a California hideout along with Teresa. Then, enlisting the surly aid of defector/nemesis Denisov, he goes to Zurich--where he tortures the secret of the ""Zurich numbers"" out of a cool Swiss mastermind. . . and faces almost certain death implacably. Never fear, however: Devereaux, who is moodier and more impassive than ever this time (he makes Clint Eastwood look like Phil Donahue), again manages to survive--appearing back in America just in time to save Teresa's little son (smuggled into the US with a circus troupe) from a midget/pervert. And this fifth exploit for the ""November Man"" is in some ways his most satisfying--with a relatively simple plot, the emotional grab of the hostage/spy-slavery network, and a fine balance throughout between visceral action and oblique (yet potent) characterization.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1984
Publisher: Crown