Flannery (The Kremlin Conspiracy, Eagles Fly), who also writes as David Hagberg (Twister, The Capsule), bravely essays an elaborately complicated spy story in the disarray of the former Soviet states in the near, terribly confused future. Real-life events have already left Flannery's complex puzzler a little behind, but not so much as to spoil a good moles-in-the-spyworks story full of intriguing, fully drawn characters from both sides of the old cold war. Most of the espionage has to do with Albert Tyson, the President's acting national security advisor. Despite a flawless, fast-moving rise to the top of the intelligence community, Tyson has begun to look a bit rotten. FBI agents have uncovered Tyson's sexual liaison with a KGB agent. Is he passing secrets to her? Is he loyal or is he being set up? In Moscow the top CIA man at the embassy is picking up bits of a story having to do with an imminent betrayal of the US by someone close to the President. Does this have anything to do with Tyson? Certainly the Russians are as meddlesome as ever, scooping up American contracts and torturing them as if it were the 1950's. But nothing is straightforward. Agents of the old directories of the KGB are keeping secrets from one another, as are the FBI and the CIA, and intelligence agency employees are stepping into each other's traps and plots with fatal results. While everybody's attention is on Tyson, somewhere in Moscow a computer operator is hacking his way into the KGB's financial records, where lie the answers to everyone's questions. The setup is long, and the extraordinarily large cast is at times difficult to keep straight, but it's worth sticking with for the clever and thoroughly believable painting of interagency warfare, diverted loyalties, and political confusion in our time. Quite good.