By William F. Buckley, Jr.
Doubleday, 233 pp, 1982
It's been a long time since I've read a
Buckley novel, so during my latest trip to the library, it was time to
get reacquainted with spy hero Blackford Oakes and company.
I'm happy to report that this novel is
just as charming and enjoyable as the other Oakes novels, filled with
memorable characters and wonderful skullduggery. Historical figures like
President Eisenhower, FBI Director Hoover, and CIA Director Dulles all
play prominent roles. Buckley's portrayal of Ike is humorous and
As for the plot, there's yet another
Soviet mole in the U.S. government, this time somewhere in the office if
the CIA Director. Dulles pulls Rufus out of retirement to mastermind the
investigation, and he in turn recruits Oakes, Anthony Trust, and Singer
Rufus' master plan requires Oakes to
"crash" land a U2 spy plane in Soviet territory, thus making him a
prisoner. Naturally, our hero is tortured (repressive Communist
countries - has there been any other kind? - do not concern themselves
with obeying treaties they have sworn to obey, like the Geneva
Convention), put on trial, and sentenced to death. But that's all part
of the plan. What is the plan? Who's the mole? And the most important
question of all: how many other women does Blackford bed, not counting
long-time girlfriend Sally Partridge?
To answer these questions would give away
too much, so please, read the book. I think you'll like it.