Charles Fane, disenchanted British Journalist, is hired to spy out the site chosen for an invasion of Cuba. The $1000 per week promised by (our CIA?) his employers represents his new lease on life. Fane, a fascist in his youth, had ceased to dream years Before. He had won an ironic reputation abroad as a socialist due to his ambiguous writing and this was thought to provide him with the perfect cover. The reclusive, suspicious Fane's first trip to Cuba is dull. Evidently Havana really is deader than yesterday's cigar smoke. Unfortunately, it reads as stale--all the action at this point is as slow as walking under water. The author always leaps in to explain. His characters are analyzed, never discovered in revealing dialogue or behavior. Nevertheless, Fane's self-delusions about falling in love with his Cuban interpreter are the haziest part of an author-omniscient book. This is the contrivance that makes Fane return in time to be whirled into the disastrous invasion, when he is confronted with the number of lives his new life is going to cost. This last portion of the book reads at a thriller pace, with aerial combat scenes that really register. Fane & Co. are related to, but not nearly so cynically real, as Le Carre's espionage victims, nor are they as likable.