Johnny Carrick is an undercover police officer who has been infiltrated into the London home of a Russian businessman who is suspected of money laundering. When MI6 finds a suspicious phone connection to a secretive Russian nuclear base their interest is raised. When they find out they have a inside man already in place they decide to use him.
The main MI6 character is Christopher Lawson, an old Cold War warrior who cares little for his colleagues’ feelings and is only concerned with success. He believes that a Russian nuclear warhead is to be transported to the Polish border. When he hears warnings that Carrick is showing the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome he brushes them aside. He lives his life by the words of Clipper Reade, a CIA agent he knew in the Cold War era.
Carrick has become under the sway of a mafia gangster who lives only for his elderly grandmother and lives his life by her belief that he should trust no one. She was a survivor of the Soribor death camp in World War II. Her chilling reminiscences to the 1940s are worked into the present-day narrative and outline the gangster’s mindset.
Meanwhile two old former Soviet officers are driving west in their clapped out car with a nuclear weapon as cargo. Their only motivation is to somehow get even with those who humiliatingly dispensed with their services after the Cold War ended. I found some of the incidents on their journey among the most entertaining part of the book.
The climax of the book comes on the swollen banks of the Bug river where the gangster attempts to receive the weapon. What will Carrick do?
Another solid entry in Seymour’s recent run of novels.