THE INFANT OF PRAGUE by Bill Granger
Kirkus Star

THE INFANT OF PRAGUE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Granger's ""November Man,"" agent Deveraux of secret Section R, returns for the eighth time--in a busy, complex blend of violent action and le CarrÉ-ish, layered motivation. Deveraux's assignment: to escort would-be Czech defector Emil Mikita from Belgium to Britain. Why? Because Mikita, Prague's top cultural coordinator, may have some juicy dirt on the CIA, Section R's nemesis. But that simple-seeming mission soon becomes cruelly complicated--when Deveraux's arch-enemy, sadistic mercenary Col. Ready, grabs this opportunity to kidnap both Deveraux and Mikita. Deveraux's beloved Rita promptly sets out to find him (falling into Col. Ready's hands) and American mobsters panic--because Mikita knows Too Much about their corrupt control of international movie-making. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Czech film-star Anna Jelinak, touring the US, also defects--after witnessing an alleged religious miracle in a Chicago church. She then becomes a pawn in the struggle over failed-defector Mikita, now in the hands of a shadowy Czech official (who just happens to be Anna's real, unacknowledged father!). The ruthless mobsters grab Anna, of course; Deveraux is temporarily released from European captivity--so he can steal Anna back (and win Rita's freedom). And the escalating mayhem culminates in one defector's death, one defector's return to Prague, just deserts for the mobsters (even the one with White House connections). . .and the inevitable showdown between Deveraux and the Colonel. Despite richly promising echoes of Smiley's People, this slightly hectic thriller never settles down long enough, or plausibly enough, to take on the depth or gravity of vintage le CarrÉ. Still, notwithstanding elements (e.g., the Colonel Ready death-dueling) that are more Fu Manchu than Graham Greene, Granger's superior talent--for character-vignettes, for dreadful happenings--makes this a suspense standout, a hybrid that will please all sectors of the espionage audience. . .while enthralling neither intellectuals nor blood-and-guts mavens.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1987
Publisher: Warner