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Doyle's first espionage novel takes us back to the more uncomplicated world of 1972-73, when intrepid, resourceful, openhearted CIA agent Mark Cameron fights to unmask a Soviet mole--""a sarcastic, dour cynic""--at CIA headquarters in Langley. Mark's been banished to the African colony of Bwagania after a routine bugging of the Rumanian embassy in Tokyo derailed, killing technician Korekiyo Takahashi, a close friend of Mark's. Since the CIA never makes mistakes, there must have been a leak; and Mark, joined by Takahashi's attractive widow Linda, toils from the boondocks to identify him by feeding him misinformation about KGB personnel in Bwagania--a busy enclave trying to undermine the colony's scheduled transition to independence by overthrowing kindly King Bwaga VI and installing his no-good son. The African plot generates lots of potential dangers, but not to worry--the King's informers allow him to head off the coup attempt on his own (the Americans don't even get their hands dirty, although a few Bwaganians get crippled or killed); and Mark's opposite number, Colonel Pyotr Petrov, is so discontented with his well-connected wife and the system she represents that it's clear even before Mark saves his daughter from maddened hippos that Pyotr's ripe for turning. Following an unexpectedly premature final curtain in Bwagania, the scene shifts to Washington for an elaborate (but, again, virtually risk-free) trap for the mole before the eagerly awaited fade-out with Linda (""I love you, my darling, and can't wait to get a cable announcing your ETA""). All the simple joys of an extended episode of Mission: Impossible.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow