The fourth book in Adam Hall's Quiller series about an Executive Agent working for an unofficial branch of Her Majesty's Secret is something of a disappointment in many regards. It is the weakest of the Quiller books I have read to date and, though still enjoyable, nowhere near as accomplished as any of the others.
Fans of the series will instantly recall that Quiller is a man who works alone; he requires no back-up, prefers being left to his own devices and dependant on no-one and very rarely carries a gun. In Warsaw, Quiller is asked to accompany a rookie Agent undercover in a bid to infiltrate a rebel Militia determined to overthrow Soviet rule shortly before peace talks are due to commence. But what Quiller doesn't realise until he takes on the Assignment is that his fellow Executive is in far more deeper than anyone outside the Upper echelons of Whitehall are prepared to admit. In fact, there is very real danger of his charge going native......and add to this mix another Executive who has previously turned sides and what you get is another tense and gripping entry into this successful Espionage series!
The things I like less about this latest Quiller novel are that it all seems a lot more complicated and convoluted than usual and that the prose doesn't flow as well as it normally does. The whole fact of Quiller accepting the assignment in the first place goes against his usual nature and, not knowing that much about the background of political events at the time this book is set, found it a bit more heavy-going than normal. Don't get me wrong, it is still good, just not as good as many of the others that Hall wrote before his death.
This is probably best enjoyed by long-time fans of the series and, though it stands alone from other novels, is less likely to be enjoyed by the casual reader. As with the other books, you are thrown into the plot very quickly with little pre-amble and there will be those who here feel a bit disconcerted by that. This is one of those books that concerns itself less with building character and more with just telling the story. This can be a good thing but here I found the story just not that engrossing as compared to previous and later adventures.
Overall, this is good but not brilliant and a sligtly more average thriller than many of the other Quiller novels.....