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If you're the level-headed but loyal Chairman of the KGB and you fear that Russia and the U.S. are marching toward mutual nuclear wipeout, what do you do? According to first-novelist Brady, you devise a wildly farfetched 20-year plan that will eventually force the U.S. to surrender without nuclear war ever happening. Step One: arrange for a U.S. Senator's daughter at finishing school in Geneva to be seduced, impregnated, and then led to believe that both lover and newborn babe have been killed in a plane crash. Step Two: some years later, when that schoolgirl is the wife of a Presidential candidate (a lucky coincidence), send a beautiful, ruthless, English-speaking undercover spy to America; she'll a) make sure that the candidate wins by scoring one foreign-policy coup after another (with some well-concealed aid from the KGB), and b) worm her way into the confidence of the new First Lady. Then, when Russia invades Western Europe, it will be time to blackmail the U.S. into surrendering--by bringing the First Lady's longlost child back to life, by blowing up a whole U.S. town, by spraying poison gas on the President, etc. If all this sounds confused, it is: Brady apparently doesn't trust his plot devices, so he keeps adding on to them, patching together a scenario that doesn't even have elegance or integrity on its own implausible terms. Moreover, the British author often stumbles in his labored attempts to approximate American lingo--and the graphic bedroom exploits of secret agent Anna (who hates men but has been trained to be a sexual virtuoso) verge on the seamily gratuitous. Still, there's a modicum of ingenuity and verve here, so perhaps if Brady aimed at something less convoluted than ""the most audacious coup ever perpetrated by one nation against another,"" he might manage a thriller with more logic and conviction than this shaky debut.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1979
Publisher: Delacorte