by William F. Buckley Jr.
One character refers to “a syndicated columnist, a television host, an author, editor of his own magazine, [who] had now announced he would also write novels!” Recognize him? Within this delightfully suspenseful spy story, Buckley not only presses his conservative ideology but also tweaks himself. Handsome Blackford Oakes, the CIA agent who was the hero of Buckley’s first novel, Saving the Queen, is back, this time to save Germany from the Communists. The battle pits Oakes against a fetching KGB agent. As usual, espionage fiction makes strange bedfellows, but Buckley gives the book enough style and unexpected angles to transcend the formula. It is, one might say, a work of vulpine scrivening. (Double-day, $8.95)