THE RELIC by Evelyn Anthony


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 The author of 3l romantic suspense and espionage novels (featuring the British Mata Hari, Davina Graham) here labors to answer the question: What's a cold war spy-story writer to do now that perestroika's come? Anthony finds her answer in a story that focuses on Soviet fears over the unraveling republics--in this case the Ukraine, which is where, during the days of the Revolution, a great Russian icon fell into the hands of Alexei Rakovsky, whose stepson, Viktor, is now a top dog in Soviet intelligence. As Viktor knows, ``Who holds Saint Vladimir's cross has Holy Russia in his hand.'' As it turns out, ÇmigrÇ Yuri Warren gave it to his daughter, Lucy, before he died, urging her to go to Geneva to find prominent dissident Dimitri Volkov, who, it's hoped, will be able to set the Ukraine free with the help of the cross. Lucy goes- -and not only weans Volkov away from the bottle but falls in love with him in the process. The only hitch is Volkov's wicked witch of a wife, a psychotherapist whose specialty is brainwashing. She's a Soviet intelligence operative as well, which is how Viktor figures out that Lucy's got the cross and intends, through Volkov, to wreak havoc with it. The climax comes on the Channel Island of Jersey, as Volkov's wife visits the lovers--with the intention of deep-sixing them. Written in a lean, fast-moving style, and as timely as tomorrow's front page, but the premise that a relic could mean so much is shaky. Indeed, this is a decidedly poor man's le CarrÇ, though not so poor that it won't amuse in its lightweight way.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016101-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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