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The classic spy thriller of lethal computer-age intrigue and a maniac’s private cold war, featuring the same anonymous narrator and milieu of The IPCRESS File.
The fourth of Deighton’s novels to be narrated by the unnamed employee of WOOC(P) is the thrilling story of an anti-communist espionage network owned by a Texan billionaire, General Midwinter, run from a vast computer complex known as the Brain.
After having been recruited by Harvey Newbegin, the narrator travels from the bone-freezing winter of Helsinki, Riga and Leningrad, to the stifling heat of Texas, and soon finds himself tangling with enemies on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
I thought I might be under surveillance by parties unknown, LAP Special Branch questioned the only witness of the theft that could be found – an LAP police constable named Blair – and delivered this transcript of his account to me on the aeroplane. Special Branch Confidential London Airport Copy 2 of 2 Transcript from tape-band. Police Constable Blair in conversation with Det. Sgt Smith, Special Branch LAP. Det. Sgt Smith: We are particularly interested in the man you saw this morning and
and so were his other clothes and that. Det. Sgt Smith: Describe his other clothes. PC Blair: He had a striped tie with a tinny sort of er cheap pin thing pinned into it like er pin. He er (4 seconds silence) Det. Sgt Smith: Don’t hurry. PC Blair: Had this funny hair, funny mousy-coloured hair. Det. Sgt Smith: How was it funny do you mean? PC Blair: It wasn’t a wig or anything but it was funny and after he had leaned over the van he touched his hair like er women do when they look into a
land, Signe and Harvey had studied the shrinkage and cracking of the ice at the water’s edge and pronounced it safe. We were four because Ralph Pike was with us now. He had said hardly anything since we had picked him up at a draughty street corner where the Hanko road leaves Helsinki. He was wearing a peaked cap of brown leather and a long black overcoat. He loosened his scarf when he got into the car and I could see the collar of his overalls under the coat. When we had driven for ten minutes
seemed that the bald man would carry the situation through by sheer force of character. But he didn’t. He aimed a swift blow at the gun. It wasn’t swift enough. A burst of fire cut the bald man in two at point-blank range and propelled him headlong into the ditch like a blow from a sledgehammer. Ivan fired again, short experimental bursts as if he’d got a new power-drill from the Christmas tree. The magazine ended and there was only a faint click from the trigger mechanism. The smoke drifted on
cigarettes and we both lit up. ‘I know something about ice,’ Stok said again. He exhaled a great billow of smoke. The driver hit the horn. ‘I fought near here during the Great Patriotic War.* On one occasion we went out on skis to take samples of local ice. We needed to know if the Lake Ilmen ice would support the weight of a KV tank – forty-three tons – so that we could take the Fascist 290th Infantry Division in flank. Forty-three tons is three hundred pounds per square centimetre. The Lake