High-altitude melodrama in the Himalayas--as Bill Stirling, ex-British Secret Service man, is recalled for a top secret mission and posted to Katmandu. An American general, who defected to the Chinese and now wishes to defect back again, is lying with a broken back at the tiny Tibetan village of Rimring, and Stirling's mission is to bring back the ""Rimring Bible""-the general's sheaf of material on Chinese rocket defenses. He's barely into Nepal before a native KGB agent attacks him in his hotel room with a prussic acid gun (yes, it's that kind of story). Then, the first night on the trail with his Sherpas, a second assassin attacks him in his tent. And he meets Kiri, a sexy doctor/spy on the loose from New Zealand who welcomes him into her sleeping bag for some amusing pillow talk. One further complication: Stirhng meets a chum-colleague along the way who urges him to get hold of the hidden Emerald Goddess of Chamdo--a solid gold life-size statue encrusted with emeralds-so that the British can airlift it to the Dalai Lama in India. So off Stirling goes with Kiri into forbidden Nepal's most forbidding thin air, avoiding Chinese border patrols and KGB pursuers: the American general surrenders his ""Bible""; Kiri and the general get captured; Stifling tries to fly the Goddess back, crashes into a crevasse, and the statue is lost. . . . Tibetan rites, chases, and spying--routine but jaunty.