You are thrown straight in to the shadowy world of spies, black market trading across the iron curtain, and the chaos of the immediately post war period in Europe, when anything goes. All the characters are very strongly portrayed, but in sharp bursts that give you quite enough to appreciate them. The staccato bursts of action all fire at you like a machine gun firing at you. I'm sure that there was a lot of illegal trading going on, especially with the American troops, and a willing market in the Russian and east European countries where the harshness of war left so many shortages. This is a good "vehicle" to carry what is essentially a spy novel. The main character is strong, and the action non stop. The action is a long way from the smooth civil service spy masters, or James Bond type suave characters, this is gritty real life. I like this book, and the cover, of a young man with tanks and soldiers on the background suits it well, and draws you in. First class!