...pushes man past the crackup point. And in this latter day espionage novel (set in 1971) many are tested and found wanting. Mr. Master's storytelling skill will carry the reader though situations and scenes awash in vintage '30's cliche (the many climaxes seem right out of Keystone Cops and Robbers.) The plot centers around the attempt to bring Tellefsen, scientist, defector from Russia, man of many identities and strange past to America. He holds the key to Russia's new secret weapon, an energy transmitter that can even play havoc with the moon. Tellefsen, however, disappears en route and we go globe trotting at a fast clip trying to find him. His pursuers include very post-Freudian types. There's Russian agent de Guise who really wanted to be an American (he was turned down by the Immigration Authorities); Bill Hammond from the U.S.A. who s-s-s- stutters unless he can speak in a foreign language (Bill has a real hang-up about his mother) and then there's a brother-sister team who are having a little problem with their semi-incestual relationship. And let's not forget Tellefsen's daughter who is cast as mother Earth. Needless to say there's plenty of sex and sadism along the way but the whole thing is a bit of a strain.