August 10, 1981 12:00 PM

by Theodore Wilden

A British agent with a Soviet passport is seized by the West Germans, who plan to trade him to the Soviets. The British hire a man, sometimes called Therrick, to rescue their agent or make certain he never talks. Therrick, a free-lance spy based in Portugal, is capable of doing unspeakable things to men—and women—if they have information he wants. Torture is routine, and a dark acceptance of such behavior permeates this espionage novel. Therrick believes that “the West is a mess, and a sorry sight; importance of family shattered, education levelled to the lowest denominator, discipline gone and upbringing as well…This generation would have licked Hitler’s boots.” Wilden, a Czech, now lives in London. His writing is crisp, the ugliness of many scenes redeemed by an irony that stems from a thorough grasp of this overworked form. (Little, Brown, $12.95)

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