For the past 22 years Major Peter Dallman has been scooting about the Far East for the Special Air Service Regiment, killing people in Malaya, Korea, Aden, Cyprus, Kenya, Egypt, and other hot spots. But now he's retired from the service and has taken up vows of celibacy as a Zen monk in a monastery. . . till he receives a call for help from his American friend, Jim Wolfe, whose daughter Silver, an outstanding computer expert in Systems Weakness Analysis, is now, bewilderingly, the mistress of Ransome, a ruthless, self-indulgent, secretive computer manufacturer worth $80 million. Wolfe is worried about what Ransome is up to, and what Silver's part in it is--with good reason. Peter, hired by Ransome (thanks to Wolfe) to be Silver's bodyguard, soon discovers that Ransome is bent on amassing the greatest criminal data bank ever; and, to reach his goal, Ransome is running his company like something out of 1984. And what is Silver really up to? More than being the pliant playmate she seems to be--that's for sure. Some strong, violent confrontations climax in a horrifically futuristic hospital, but Hartley (The Viking Process) is much better at crafting isolated action scenes than in maintaining tension or plausibility; so--only for tolerant escapism-seekers nostalgic for James-Bond-style goings-on.