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The Ninth Directive - Adam Hall

“At this time, when the whole of the South-east Asian picture is confused and threatening, Her Majesty’s Government consider it highly desirable that a goodwill mission is undertaken by someone who is neither a statesman nor a diplomat but who commands international respect and admiration, particularly in Thailand. Thus in three weeks’ time a representative of the Queen is to visit Bangkok on a goodwill tour.” With careful precision he said: “During the visit we want you to arrange for his assassination.”
The Striker Portfolio - Adam Hall

The Cold War doesn’t get much colder than at 60,000-feet.... The British-built Striker SK-6 swing-wing jet fighter is at the heart of NATO’s front-line defence strategy on the western side of the Iron Curtain; so why have thirty-six crashed inexplicably and with no survivors? The pilots have already nicknamed the aircraft ‘The Widowmaker’ but are the mysterious crashes down to design faults or sabotage? The super-tough, ultra-cool agent Quiller is sent into West Germany – alone and unarmed as usual – to find out and almost loses his life and his sanity in the process. On first publication, the third ‘Quiller’ novel was praised by reviewers as an “urbane, fast-moving, hyper-knowledgeable action story” and for its “sound, sensitive writing” and one of the best car chases ever described in spy fiction.
A Flock of Ships - Brian Callison

“The best war story I have ever read” – Alistair Maclean. It wasn’t difficult for me to pick up at least the basic text of that remote tapping – the last signal from M.V. Cyclops. ...CYCLOPS TO ALL SHIPS...TORPEDOED AND SINKING POSITION P3215-P0330...MASTER AND OFFICERS DEAD... NO HOPE OF SAVING SHIP.....WE ARE ABANDONING... What the hell? We weren’t torpedoed and sinking. Most of the officers were still alive...that position the unknown operator had given – it was several hundred miles to the north-west of this blood-stained circle of rocks. I wrenched the door open and slammed into the cabin fast. Almost fast enough to beat the gun that was snatched from the operator’s table by a very steady hand. ‘You shouldn’t be here, Mate. This boat’s just gone and sunk.’
Seven Days to a Killing - Clive Egleton

The voice was calm, almost soothing. It said, ‘My name is Drabble. We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting one another, Major Tarrant, but I feel I know you very well. I believe you have a son called David.’ Tarrant would act like a pliant tree and bend with the wind. He would mask his feelings as he had been trained to do; he would, if necessary, betray everything he represented to preserve David’s life until he was out of harm’s way, and then, by Christ, even if it took him twenty years, he would track down and kill Drabble.
The October Plot - Clive Egleton

Shortly before midnight, the duty radio operator in the Soviet Embassy sent a Flash message to the Kremlin for the attention of the State Defence Committee. The text was necessarily vague. Decoded it read: FROM RELIABLE SOURCE HAVE HEARD THAT WITHIN NEXT SEVENTY-TWO HOURS ATTEMPT WILL BE MADE ON LIFE OF MARTIN BORMANN BY BRITISH COMMANDOS. TIME AND PLACE NOT KNOWN BUT INFORMANT CONFIDENT IT WILL SUCCEED. MESSAGE ENDS.
Innocent Bystanders - James Mitchell (writing as James Munro)

They set Craig up – he shot them down! was the tagline on the poster for the 1972 film version of The Innocent Bystanders, which starred Stanley Baker as tough-as-nails British agent John Craig on the track of a missing Russian scientist. The trail begins in a Soviet gulag in Siberia and the hunt leads Craig to America, Turkey and Cyprus. Very quickly Craig realises that there is no-one on this violence-strewn journey he can trust, except himself. Under the pen name James Munro, James Mitchell created the hard-man secret agent Craig some three years before his more famous fictional spy Callan, but it Craig who was seen for a while as the natural successor to James Bond. The Innocent Bystanders was the fourth and final book to feature John Craig and was first published in 1969, it has been out of print in the UK for 44 years.
The Man Who Sold Death - James Munro

The best-selling thriller which introduced John Craig who, in 1964, was seriously tipped as the logical successor to James Bond following the death of Ian Fleming. Craig is a man hardened by war, as a decorated officer in the elite Special Boat Section and subsequently as a gun-runner along the North African coast. Attempting to go straight he becomes a successful businessman back in England, but his past catches up with him, literally, with a bang as fanatical French soldiers resisting the move for independence for Algeria mark him for death. A crack pistol shot and a karate black belt, Craig is well-equipped to take the fight to the enemy but only with the help of the sinister Loomis, head of British Intelligence’s ruthless ‘Department K’. James Munro was the pen-name of James Mitchell, who went on to even greater success with his novels, short stories and television scripts for his iconic spy Callan.
The Rainbird Pattern - Victor Canning

What could be the connection between the ruthlessly professional ‘Trader Abductions’ – a series of high-profile kidnappings of Establishment figures – a lonely, and rich, 73-year-old spinster and the blousy ‘Madame Blanche Tyler’, self-styled clairvoyant, medium and psychic healer? The answer lies in the title of the famous thriller by one of Britain’s most prolific and best-loved popular novelists, Victor Canning. On first publication, The Rainbird Pattern garnered rave reviews – ‘an unputdownable, multi-threaded thriller’ (Guardian); ‘the sheer imaginative weight holds you like a giant electro-magnet’ (The Times); ‘a most cunning Canning’ (Daily Mirror) – and won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Silver Dagger. The story was transposed from England to California and filmed by Alfred Hitchcock (his last film) as Family Plot in 1976. First published in 1972.
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