Not as parched as the title might indicate, but a competent, diverting Red China suspense story with more wit and action than most. George Benachen, special correspondent for Algiers' third world weekly, African Will Power, is a likable, decent, all-time patsy and major nations utilize George, who has a shaky background and a strong instinct for self-preservation, to do their wily work. His impossible assignment is to spirit one highly placed Chen Wu-hsieh, with his nuclear projects, out of Mao-land. Each national intelligence agent has his own rendezvous with George who bumbles into confrontations with frenzied Red Guards and falls in love with a lovely Mao patriot. It all results in a high tension yarn, and when the wretched George is finally dispatched, the reader will be sorry to see him go. In translation from the French.