A brilliant young electronics expert is killed by a car bomb seemingly meant for the head of the Foreign Office's Middle-Eastern Section. Intelligence officer Hugh Roskill is sent by David Audley on an investigation that takes him from London clubland to the Hampshire countryside, and deep into the complexities of Middle Eastern politics, to find the answer to two questions: who was the real target of the bomb? And what is Alamut? Against the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the period before the Camp David Accords, Dr Audley and Colonel Butler are confronted with an assassin capable of turning the Middle Eastern conflict into Armageddon.
This series is perfect for me; all of the 19 books were written before the end of the cold war and are about an intelligence organization functioning at that time. This is the 2nd one that I have read, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. Although the two books are different, they have many of the same characteristics. These are quiet spy novels, interesting, but not much action. The plot unfolds gradually and the characters, their interactions and growth are the best part of the book.
These books are referred to as the Dr David Audley/Colonel Jack Butler series, and I presume that means that those two characters show up in all or most of the 19 novels. The stories all seem to center around Audley, but there are other secondary characters who feature prominently in the series.
In The Alamut Ambush, the point of view character is Hugh Roskill, a young RAF Squadron Leader that has been assigned to the intelligence group. Hugh is involved deeply in this case because he knew the young man who was killed and is close to his family. In order to find out why the electronics expert was killed Hugh visits the family. As in the first story, there is a romance, and I found it entirely acceptable.
More than one review says that this is not one of the best novels in the series. If that is so, I have a lot to look forward to, because I like this story a lot. It will be very interesting to see what book 3 brings.
I first read about Anthony Price and this series of espionage novels at Nick Jones' blog, Existential Ennui. See his review of The Alamut Ambush here.
My review of the first book in the series, The Labyrinth Makers, is here.
Publisher: Mysterious Press, 1986. Orig. pub. 1971.
Length: 219 pages
Series: David Audley / Jack Butler #2
Genre: Spy fiction
Source: I purchased my copy.