Chaotic, irritatingly quirky futurist-suspense with a Message: the political and social failures of the 1970s have doomed the world to a distinctly Orwellian future--represented here by a rotting England ruthlessly ruled by the ""Kabinet"" and by Univac 5, a computer that controls the doings of the hapless citizens. So, to destroy Univac 5, ex-Scotland Yard detective Harold Acteon will assemble a sabotage team and stop at nothing (he breaks people's fingers and murders old ladies), even though he has to dodge assassination attempts by the State Polis and his own chronically suspicious associates. And key to the anti-Univac operation is mercurial Jules Margolis Quet, owner of a medium-sized nuclear missile; Acteon plans to use Quet's missile to detonate a nuclear power plant situated across the Thames from Univac 5's memory banks. Despite flashes of wit and some snappy dialogue--an acerbic, disjointed thriller/futurist hybrid which bogs down in dreary political philosophy and pretentious prose (""The vaulted tomb of the sky had lesions in it""). . . and never really wriggles out from under the 1984 shadow.