CHILDREN OF TENDER YEARS by Ted Allbeury

CHILDREN OF TENDER YEARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This latest offering from a veteran British espionage novelist sends a former Auschwitz inmate back to Germany to defuse an anti-Soviet nuclear conspiracy. As Polish Jews, little Jake Malik and his mother were sent to Auschwitz, where his mother ""disappeared."" Now, 30 years later, Jake returns to Germany as a British SIS agent to liaison with German agent Heinz Fischer in probing the origins of a new wave of anti-Semitism, which is actually a front for a conspiracy by some upscale German and Israeli businessmen to nuke ten Russian cities, should Israel or West Germany be invaded. The pair run to earth a bit player in the conspiracy, who yields two important names and is then cold-bloodedly killed by Jake; all part of a day's work, or an expression of Jake's admitted hatred for Germans? For Heinz, ""It didn't bear thinking about."" But Jake doesn't hate all Germans, for he falls in love with Heinz's kid sister Lisa, and the two steal a vacation in Israel, where Jake stumbles on a secret desert installation, and tracks the movement of nuclear missiles to their German hiding places. Jake smashes the conspiracy and a team of Mossad workhorses materialize out of nowhere to dismantle and sink the missiles, and kill two of the balkier conspirators; but by now Heinz is convinced that Jake is pathologically anti-German, and aborts his relationship with Lisa. Jake resumes his lonely spy's life, his consolation an important assignment in Washington. Allbeury seems to be just going through the motions in this workmanlike but uninvolving tale; it's hard to get excited about a cold fish like Jake, a conspiracy which collapses like a card-house, or the logistics of missile removal (the focus of the last part of the novel).

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1985
Publisher: Beaufort