If Russia wanted to pressure Great Britain into voting for a certain UN Security Council measure, what would Russia do? According to the Hoyles, Russia would go through elaborately circuitous means to recruit an international team of mercenary and fanatic terrorists to smuggle uranium into London, build a nuclear bomb there, and plant it in the Thames near Big Ben. This implausible premise--implausible even by political thriller standards--is only slightly stabilized by the Hoyles' matter-of-fact, time-table narrative style. There is some satisfaction in watching each of the contacts being made, each of the bomb pieces fitting together, each of the kinky conspirators self-destructing (some murder and a bit of bondage-sex)--as the authorities scramble to find out what's going on and prevent it. But without a central character to engage our sympathies (no one in the large cast here even comes close), the plot is all-important; and from silly beginning to explosive end (all the Westminster architecture goes ka-boom), it's too fantastical to support the by-the-numbers details. Smoothly, professionally written--like the Hoyles' science-fiction work--but foolishly, even amateurishly, conceived.