Once more--as it did in Jones' Rubicon One (1983) and Russian Spring (1984)--the world teeters on the brink of WW III in the late 1980's, which again allows Jones to exploit the pedantry of warfare while hopping from Berlin to Washington to Moscow. This time out, his characters are fairly compelling political creatures. Central to impending calamity are brilliantly charismatic, blue-eyed spellbinder Ernst Rudel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of West Germany (""Rudel has many of the qualities Hitler had, except one. He is not mad,"" says his Foreign Minister Diercks), and the energetic middle-aged spinster Lotte von Veltheim, the first woman mayor of West Berlin. The US and the Soviet Union have just signed an Intermediate Arms Limitation Treaty, with the Americans already having withdrawn their Pershings and cruise missiles from Western Europe, and with the Russians now removing theirs from Eastern Europe. Thus, to a great degree, Germany must defend itself, and so Rudel reinstitutes the long-forbidden German High Command, while, in the guise of neutralism, beginning to remove Germany from NATO. As it happens, Rudel's foreign minister is a Soviet mole, but then so are a number of people around Rudel. And the bitter fact is that back in Moscow, Party Secretary Nikolayev and the Politburo do not know what the KGB and GRU and the Soviet Army are doing in the way of spies and moles: moles are attacking moles. Microchip salesman/CIA agent Paul Brand is monitoring the war-scene buildup engineered by Rudel, which suddenly boils over when Secretary Nikolayev (who is not informed about certain features of Rudel's activities) decides that the Soviets can't wait but must put Operation Barbaroosa Red into action. In a highly limited war, Russia invades Germany, lays siege to Berlin. Meanwhile, Brand finds that this has all been brought about by a Soviet mole of the highest importance in the West German government. The mole is playing out a scenario developed under Stalin! Then Lotte, the mayor of fallen West Berlin, shows up and tells Brand that she is a GRU mole and wants to defect to the Americans--after neutralizing the first mole. Jones' most gripping future-war plot, with richly drawn characterizations and unfailing tension.