Hunter (the paperback Comrades) makes his hardcover debut with the familiar story of an ordinary man caught up in the intrigues of international spymasters, a scenario that he makes secondary to the hero's effort to save his faltering marriage and reclaim his estranged wife while struggling with his feelings for a beautiful would-be Russian defector. David Marriner, a British specialist in guns and armour, meets beautiful Svetlana Malinkova, director of the famed Kremlin Armoury museum, at a Brussels conference, and she immediately invites him to visit her in Moscow. British Intelligence agents pressure him to do so, using as an incentive their ability to provide him with Britain's top divorce attorney to fend off the efforts of his wife, Celia, to end their marriage and take away his beloved daughter Katie. They want Marriner to use his contacts with Svetlana to arrange the defection of a Kremlin insider, a proposition she accepts on the condition that she's brought out as well, together with a collection of art treasures she's amassed. Things in Moscow become complicated and risky, but Marriner cannot turn back, realizing too late that his own employers are more than willing to exacerbate his marital problems as a means of insuring his cooperation. Even as Celia begins to show willingness to try again, Marriner finds himself increasingly involved with the more-than- willing Russian beauty. Before everything is resolved, he comes to understand the cynical double-cross in which he is but a pawn and has to endure an unexpected and deadly confrontation back on British soil. An average thriller made somewhat more interesting by the hero's tortured personal dilemma and moral quandary.