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It's the end of World War II and Germany is surrendering. British spy David Caiger is thrown into synch with U.S. Army Major Ed Stockton: their mission is to locate and capture a German atomic device, a grapefruit-sized trigger (deadly all by itself) for blowing up a larger bomb. The two-man team must keep this atomic trigger from falling into Russian hands, but Prof. Erwin von Clauber--who invented the mechanism--is lying with a broken leg in Russian-occupied Germany, where he is being ministered to by his aviatrix-mistress Elisabeth. The two men discover Elisabeth, who eventually falls in with them to help get her lover over into Allied territory. She also begins playing one off against the other, setting up ""the classic Chinese situation"" where one or the other officer must lose face. The atomic device is buried in a field near Dresden, and they get it, but escape becomes impossible, and the three are soon being chased by the NKVD through Czechoslovakia to Russian-occupied Austria. They leave a trail of bodies behind them. Their final escape across the Danube is a disaster, and the atomic trigger goes the way of the Maltese Falcon. . . . Plenty of ravaged-Germany background here, but not much heart from the tough agents, and few readers will have much pity for the doubletalking Ehsabeth. The pseudonymous Mr. Tarrant seems to save his better books for his real byline, Clive Egleton.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum