Remember British defector-spies Burgess, Maclean, and Philby? In this coolly styled but self-defeatingly complex espionagerie, Scott posits yet another defector--George Michael Stevens, who may or may not have been Philby's successor. . . Or Philby's controller. . . or the link to Philby's recruiter. . . or maybe a secret agent for Britain all along, even now. In any case, Stevens is reported dead in Moscow, but Intelligence knows better and enlists journalist Bill Johnson (who has been doing a story on Stevens) to go to Russia and liaison with hospitalized Stevens and with some strangely cooperative, even seductive, KGB types. The theories and counter-theories that develop during Johnson's sojourn hinge on Stevens' code-laden memoirs (did he betray a whole network of agents?), on narcohypnoanalysis (is Stevens subconsciously resisting Soviet hypnosis because he's been programmed as a sleeper assassin by British hypnosis?), and on the continuing internal feuding at both British and Soviet spy headquarters. Despite a few bursts of action, this is taxingly pseudo-cerebral stuff, leavened by graceful literary allusions and pointed details but lacking the emotional core that most readers would depend on to see them through to a long-overdue Le CarrÃ‰-ish denouement.