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Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 21: Blofeld


It was already growing dark as the helicopter flew in low over the Louisiana swampland. Nena craned forward at the controls, trying to spot the landmark she said would be there.

Yes, we flew all the way from Colorado to Louisiana in the space of a chapter break! Just squeezing that mansion in at the end of the book!


They had stayed for only a few minutes in the compound of the NORAD base while Bond shot questions at her. What had happened? How did she manage to get there? Did she know what had become of Cedar?

Flushed and excited, Nena gave him the answers as quickly as he fired the questions. In the early days at the Rancho Bismaquer, her husband had given her lessons in the helicopter. She had taken her pilot’s licence a year ago. It had been her personal salvation.

Wakening in the night – a good forty-eight hours ago – she heard noises. Bismaquer was nowhere upstairs, so she crept down and saw Luxor with some other men. They had Cedar with them.

Then her husband arrived; orders were given. She had no idea what was going on but heard talk about Bond being taken away in the other helicopter. She also heard Bismaquer tell them where they were to rendezvous when it was all over. ‘I still don’t know when what was all over. They talked about Cheyenne Mountain, that’s all. Lord, you look so dashing in that uniform, James. Now, I need to know what’s been going on.’

He would tell her later. Now he needed the urgent facts. Where was Bismaquer? What happened to Cedar?

‘He’s taking her to Louisiana. I know exactly where – and Luxor’ll head for the same place.’ Her face, glowing with pleasure until then, suddenly darkened.

‘It’s horrible, James. I know what they’ll do to her. Markus took me there once. I never thought I’d go again. The people know me there, and – if we hurry – we should make it well before Markus arrives with Cedar. They’re going by road. It was always she they wanted dead, James. I know that. He wanted you alive, but Cedar was to die. I just hope to God we’re in time, because I can guess what he’ll do to her now.’

A few minutes later they were airborne, and now, after a long steady flight, the swamps and bayous slid by in the dusk beneath them.

Bond was pleasantly surprised by Nena’s standard as a pilot. She handled the helicopter with skill and great flair, as though she was used to flying it every day.

‘Oh, I take it out when I can,’ she said with a laugh. ‘It’s always been a way of getting clear of Markus for a while. Funny, I always knew that, when I finally left him, it would be in the chopper.’

Nena begins taking the helicopter over to the far side of the marsh, where they can grab a marsh hopper to sail in. Bond is, of course, very happy that Nena knew to get the right antidote to the mind control drugs and get them to him.


‘You’ll tell me what it was all about, James, won’t you? Everything. I only heard parts of it. It seemed very complicated to me – difficult and daring. Would they really have got a lot of money for whatever they were after?’

‘Billions.’ Bond closed the subject. ‘Now, let’s find this marsh hopper. I’m ravenous, need a bath and could do with a rest before I come face to face with your venomous husband.’

‘Yes,’ she said, unbuckling her straps. ‘Yes, he is pretty venomous, isn’t he?’ They found the marsh hopper exactly where she said it would be. A small, narrow-beam spotlight was fitted to the front, and Nena switched it on after the motor fired.

As they reached the water surrounding the old rotting house, a light flashed out from what appeared to be the porch. Bond went for the .45, but Nena put out a restraining hand.

‘It’s okay, James. Only a deaf mute Markus keeps on the place. Named Criton.’

‘Admirable,’ muttered Bond.

‘Criton, or the woman, Tic – she’s a first-rate cook. You won’t have to worry about food, James. Yes, I can see him now. It’s Criton guiding us in.’

Criton gives Nena a small bow as they pass, barely even acknowledging Bond's existence. Once past the crumbling shell of the mansion into the opulent interior, Nena begins giving Criton his orders.


‘Has Mr Bismaquer been here?’ Nena asked.

Criton shook his head.

‘Understand me, now, Criton,’ she continued. ‘You take the marsh hopper, and you put it out of sight. Okay?’

He nodded.

‘Then tell Tic we need food and drink. In the main bedroom.’

Criton nodded vigorously, grinning broadly.

‘Now, most important. You understand? Most important. Mr Bismaquer is coming. As soon as he is on the way – in a marsh hopper – you come wake us up. Right away. You watch all night. You do that, and I give you a good present. Okay?’

The deaf mute nodded as though trying to dislocate his neck.


‘He’ll do it.’ Nena locked eyes with Bond. ‘We’re safe, James. We can relax. Criton’ll warn us when Markus shows up; then we’ll be ready for him.’

‘You sure?’


She took hold of his hand, tugging gently, leading him up the stairs.

The master bedroom was huge, with carpet so thick you could roll up in it and go to sleep without recourse to sheets. The bed itself was typical of Bismaquer’s style: a huge, gilded four-poster, with a headboard carved and glinting with gold leaf— a large B displayed prominently among the scrollwork.



The bathroom had bath, shower, and jacuzzi. It was, Bond decided, only half the size of the bedroom.

They only heard Tic leave food in the bedroom, calling to them with a creole intonation. Nena and Bond were enjoying themselves far too much, naked in the jacuzzi.

Later, wrapped in towelling robes, they sat on the bed to eat a delicious crab and okra gumbo, which, Nena maintained, was reckoned among the locals, to be a great aphrodisiac.

Bond, who had felt near exhaustion on arrival, did not know whether to thank the gumbo, or Nena’s natural feminine powers. But they made love several times – with concentrated power, and increasing mutual delight – before switching the lights off and cradling each other into sleep.

Bond awakens from his memories of one-boob sexing to the sound of gunfire outside and Nena nowhere to be seen. He finds that while his bathrobe was left, his .45 is missing.


He stopped, to listen again, at the top of the staircase. He thought he heard sounds from behind a door adjacent to the big carved newel post at their stair foot. A thin sliver of light showed under the door. Nena, he thought, his heart thudding. Bismaquer had arrived and the deaf mute had given no warning. Either that, or she had tried to go it alone.

He moved more quickly down the stairs, pausing for a moment just outside the door, listening to the muffled sounds coming from the other side. Gradually the noises took form – a whimpering, pleading babble. Without waiting another second, Bond kicked the door open, just in time to see the last act of Bismaquer’s drama being played out.

It was a long room. Most of the space was taken up by a polished oak table, the chairs pushed neatly in around it. The far wall appeared to be made of glass. But it was the tableau close to this huge window that stopped Bond, as in a kind of paralysis, in the doorway.

It was a grotesque scene. Slumped against the wall lay the big pink-faced Markus Bismaquer, one shoulder and both his legs covered in blood where the three bullets had chewed their way into kneecaps and arm. The cherubic face was changed – a child in pain and terror.

Standing over him, stark naked, her one magnificent breast caught as though by a spotlight, was Nena. She held the Colt .45, pointing directly at Bismaquer’s head as he pleaded through his pain, begging her to stop. The bear, finally overcome and helpless.

Well, that was anticlimactic. Nena's got Blofeld at gunpoint and crippled already!


She seemed not to see – or even notice – that Bond was there. In turn, he was so shaken by the sight that he stood, rooted, mesmerised, for too long.

‘I always knew your heart wasn’t in it, Markus.’ The glissando laugh had changed to a harsh crow, while the endearing French accent was now guttural and rough.

‘No, Markus. I might just have spared you; but you didn’t cover your tracks. The Britisher, Bond, gave it all away. When we had him set up – with the new personality well implanted in him – you crept in, from my bed no doubt, because he told me that he smelled my hair.

‘You went to him and filled his mouth full of wake-up pills, didn’t you? Another of your loves, Markus? Did you fall for him? Like you fell for that Leiter bitch? Anything that moves, eh? Luxor, me, Leiter, Bond. Well, there’s no reason to keep you any longer – husband.’

Bond actually jumped as she pulled the trigger, and Bismaquer’s head disintegrated like a burst blood-filled bladder, the gore splattering Nena’s naked body.

Oh, Christ.


‘My God. You bitch.’

For a single beat in time, Bond thought he had not said it aloud. But Nena Bismaquer turned quickly, with the deadly eye of the Colt steady, and pointing directly at Bond’s chest.

Her face had changed, and in the clear light Bond could see that she appeared older. The hair was tousled, and the black fire now burned a hatred in her eyes. It was the eyes which brought the whole thing into perspective. No matter how he had tried to cover it, even with the use of contact lenses, Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s eyes had been black: black as the Prince of Darkness himself.

Nena smiled, lopsided, and in the smile revealed her paranoia.

‘Well, James Bond. At last. I’m sorry you had to watch this nasty business. I really was thinking of sparing him, until you thanked me for feeding you wakeup pills. Then I knew he had to die. It’s a pity. He was quite brilliant in his way. My organisation can always make room for chemists who have a streak of genius – like Markus Bismaquer. But his stomach wasn’t up to it, I’m afraid.’

She took a step towards Bond, then changed her mind.

‘In spite of everything – and I have to admit you have prowess in some areas – I don’t think we’ve really met. My name is Nena Blofeld.’ She laughed. ‘I might say, your name is James Bond and I claim my reward.’

Yep. At the very end of the book, there's the bombshell getting dropped on us: Nena is Blofeld's one-breasted daughter. She had been secretly the boss of everything, and Bismaquer was the one who gave Bond the antidote because he thought he was too pretty to die.

Which means that Bond has been loving Blofeld this whole time.


‘His daughter?’ Bond’s voice was barely audible.

‘My reward,’ she continued. ‘I’ve had a price on your head, ready to be claimed for some time. Are you surprised? Surprised that I managed to fool your people and the Americans? We knew you would be called in – Mr James Bond, the expert on SPECTRE. Yes, from a distance I enticed you, James. And you fell for it.

‘Now, I can claim my reward myself. You killed my father, I think. He warned me, even as a child, about you.’

‘And your mother?’ Bond played for time.

She made a dismissive, retchy sound from the back of her throat. ‘I’m illegitimate, though I know who she was. A French whore, who lived with him for a couple of years. I did not, knowingly, meet her. I loved my father, Mr James Bond. He taught me all I know. He also willed the organisation to me – SPECTRE. That’s all you really have to be told. Markus has gone. Now it’s your turn.’

No, absolutely none of this was foreshadowed except for not using gendered pronouns for Blofeld. We're just getting the entire plot in one exposition dump.


She raised the Colt just as Bond dived towards the side of the table, and at that same moment, the dusty, frail figure of Walter Luxor came hurtling through the door, shouting:

‘The place is surrounded, Blofeld. They’re here – police, everywhere!’

She fired, and Bond saw part of the table splinter about a foot from his head. Twisting his body, he grabbed at the legs of the nearest heavy chair, hauling it out as Walter Luxor made a lunge for him, throwing himself directly into the path of Nena Blofeld’s next shot.

The bullet gouged into the left side of Luxor’s chest, spinning him like a top against the wall. He seemed to be pinned there for a second, before sliding down, a collapsed skeleton, leaving a crimson trail behind him.

Bond heard Blofeld gasp, cursing, and in that moment when she was still off-balance, he summoned all his energy, heaving at the big chair with every ounce of strength, making a supreme effort to fling it, at Nena Blofeld.

The chair appeared to hang, in mid-air, as she tried to duck it. But the combination of need for survival, hatred for any member of the Blofeld family and some hidden well of strength, served Bond’s purpose well.

The bottom of the chair’s seat hit her full in the chest. The four legs neatly pinioned her arms and the full force of the impact hurled her back against the window.

There was the sickening noise of cracking glass, then a terrible screaming. Nena Blofeld was thrown out on to the hard earth, which sloped down to the dense reeds and the water of the bayou.

The screaming continued, and Bond stood, transfixed by what happened next. As Blofeld hit the ground, so a metal cage, protected by tight wire mesh, dropped from the darkness above. At the same time, the area immediately outside the broken window became alive. The cage, Bond could see, had a roof and three sides, being open at the front, and reaching down to the reeds.

As the cage descended, so the lights dimmed in the room, but it was still bright enough to give a reasonable view of the reptiles which came squirming in. At least two of them – though Bond had the distinct impression there were others near by – were huge, fat, lethal pythons, thirty feet or more in length.

What could make this ending feel even more like everything is getting jammed in at the last minute?


As the creatures slid over the screaming and kicking body, Bond heard the chair crack like thin plywood. Then the screams stopped. He was conscious of other people coming into the room, of a back he recognised as his old friend Felix Leiter.

Leiter limped towards the window, black gloves covering both his own and the artificial hand. Bond saw the arms being raised and Leiter’s hands come together. He turned his eyes away after the third explosion, as Felix put a bullet into the brains of each python, and – in case she was crushed, but not yet quite dead – gave the coup de grâce to Nena Blofeld.

Felix Leiter just wandering in and shooting the villain in the head!


‘Come on, James.’ It was Cedar, by his side, who guided him out of the corpse-strewn room.

A few minutes later, in the hall of the bayou house, she told him, simply, what had happened to her on the mono-rail.

‘I couldn’t kill them all. You told me to kill anybody who tried to get in. There were at least a dozen: Maybe they were already on board when we left the ranch. I just got out fast. Sorry, James. I tried to catch up with you, give some kind of warning, but it was all over too quickly. I didn’t dare shout – they seemed to be everywhere. I couldn’t see. We must have missed each other by inches. The only thing I bumped into was a body.’

‘How . . . ?’ he began.

‘I walked. Straight out through the gate and into the night. By the time I finally made Amarillo, it was too late to do anything. There really is nothing between that depot and the city.

‘Then things opened up, and reports started to come in from Cheyenne Mountain. By that time, Daddy had arrived, and a lot of other people. They finally got a trace on Madame Bismaquer’s helicopter. That’s how they tracked you down here. I always told you she was no good.’

Bond merely shook his head. It had not yet quite sunk in.

Yeah, you don't say.


Felix Leiter came into the hall. ‘Nice to see you again, James, old buddy.’ His grin still had that sense of fun and impetuosity that Bond had always warmed to, trusted and admired. ‘You do realise that my daughter’s in love with you, James.’ Another quick grin. ‘As her father, I hope you’re going to make an honest woman of her – or a dishonest one. Either one will do, just to keep her quiet.’

‘Daddy!’ said Cedar, in a shocked voice that fooled nobody.

And just to cap off this weird, weird book.

Chapter 22: To James Bond: The Gift of a Daughter


Cedar Leiter and James Bond stood on the balcony of his room at the Maison de Ville, New Orleans, looking out at the view. Somewhere near at hand, below them, a pianist was trying to recreate Art Tatum playing ‘Aunt Hagar’s Blues’. Cedar and James were arguing.

The Maison de Ville is a hotel situation in a historic 18th century home on Toulouse Street, in the heart of the French Quarter. Antoine Peychaud, the creator of Peychaud's Bitters, and Tennessee Williams were among the property's famous residents.


‘But you’ve said it would be different if I wasn’t your old friend’s daughter, James. Can’t you forget about that?’

‘Difficult.’ Bond had turned monosyllabic, particularly since talking, long distance, to M, who had sounded exceptionally cheerful and told him to take a couple of weeks’ leave. ‘No, 007, make that a month. You really have deserved it this time. Very good show indeed.’

‘What do you mean, difficult?’ Cedar became petulant. ‘You have said it all, James. You’d take me to bed like a shot if . . .’

‘If it wasn’t for your father, yes. And there’s an end to it.’

‘It’s not incest!’

Not exactly an argument in the positive!


‘But it wouldn’t seem right.’ Bond knew very well that it would seem very right if it happened. But . . .

‘Look. I’ve got time to kill. So have you. At least let’s go off and have a vacation together. She held her hands up, palms facing outwards. ‘No strings, James. I promise, no strings.’

Cedar immediately put her hands behind her neck, crossing her fingers in the old childhood ritual which allowed you to lie.

Bond sighed. ‘Okay. Just to keep you quiet. But I warn you, Cedar, you try anything and heaven save me – I’m just about old enough to be your father anyway – I’ll warm that pretty little backside for you.’

‘Oh. Promises,’ Cedar giggled.

Well, at least Fleming would approve of that.


They stood in silence for a while, and she groped for his hand. ‘Isn’t it fantastic out there? That sky, all velvet, and the stars?’

They were not to know it, but at that very moment, a rocket blasted off from Russia’s Northern Cosmodrome, near Plesetsk, to the south of Archangel. A very few minutes later, a bleep showed on the centre projection in the Main Control Room of the NORAD centre, in Cheyenne Mountain.

Within seconds, the Space Wolves Command Post, just along the passageway from Main Control, was setting one of its laser-armed platforms in a similar orbit, to close on the unidentified new object.

The Space Wolf was held off, within range, for the next thirty minutes, until the Satellite Data System recognised the newly launched arrival as another Meteor weather satellite. Only then was the Space Wolf quietly withdrawn and placed back into its normal orbit.

But Cedar and James Bond knew nothing of this. They simply stood there, looking out at the stars, with Bond’s hand gradually gripping Cedar’s palm. He gave it a little squeeze.

Before they can decide where to go, Felix phones the room and tells Bond to come down to the bar. He's already gone by the time Bond arrives, but there's a package waiting for him with the bartender.


Sure enough, a heavy package, beautifully wrapped, waited for him, together with a neatly typed envelope. Bond tore open the envelope. Inside there was another sealed envelope, and a note. Open the package first, it read. It’s from someone really important. Then try the envelope. Felix.

Bond took the package into the bar, ordered a vodka martini, lit one of his specially made H. Simmons cigarettes, and carefully unwrapped the parcel. Inside was a large box, similar to those made for expensive jewellery. This one carried the Presidential seal embossed on the lid.

Slowly Bond undid the clasp, and lifted the lid. Lying in a specially-moulded bed of silk was a silver-plated Police Positive .38 revolver. Engraved along the barrel were the words To James Bond. For Special Services. There followed the signature, and title, of the President of the United States of America.

The Police Positive was one of two guns Bond brought along in the original Fleming novels as a larger backup to his Beretta 418, most prominently kept under his pillow in Casino Royale and handed to Viv in The Spy Who Loved Me. It was so named for its "positive lock", an internal hammer block safety that prevented accidental discharge if dropped on the hammer. It was one of the most popular revolvers of the early 20th century and a major competitor to Smith & Wesson's similar guns. Notably, it was one of the few guns Fleming himself owned and had some familiarity with. He had been presented with the same "For Special Services" revolver by General William Donovan for writing a memorandum that would become part of the charter of the OSS describing its functions.


Bond closed the box, tearing open the other envelope. A single card, handwritten with great care. It read: To James Bond: The Gift of a Daughter – or whatever you want her to be.

It was signed, Felix Leiter, and, as Bond read it, he knew that the planned holiday with Cedar was going to be laughter, fun, and a purely platonic relationship right down the line.

Waiting for Bond upstairs, Cedar had other ideas, and they were both stubborn as mules.

In his cab heading for the airport, Felix Leiter chuckled to himself.

Finally, agonizingly, the book ends. The pulpiest yet, chock full of crazy and jam-packed with way more plot than Gardner could handle. A villain only revealed in the last few pages and unceremoniously shot in the head by Felix Leiter suddenly wandering in without warning. Shockingly, it's still not Gardner's nuttiest or most confusing work.

I'm going out of town for a week. When we return, we take a trip to Finland for a book with so many double and triple-crosses that it'll make your head spin.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 20:30 on Dec 14, 2020


Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

John Gardner posted:

The Gift of a Daughter – or whatever you want her to be.




Jan 21, 2007

It feels like Gardner had a bunch of index cards with ludicrous plot points for his next few Bond novels and he decided to just shuffle them all together and call it an outline.

Didn't enjoy anything about this book aside from getting to witness the sheer feverish insanity. I'm glad the library didn't have this one available when I was a tiny goon.

chitoryu12 posted:

Shockingly, it's still not Gardner's nuttiest or most confusing work.

Hard to believe, but in that case the thread title is making more and more sense...

Edited to second:

Gats Akimbo posted:




Ripley fucked around with this message at 22:31 on Dec 14, 2020

Dec 24, 2007

Gats Akimbo posted:




Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

So the hideously scarred-beyond-recognition brains behind the throne who had particular unexplainable hatred for our protagonist just turned out to be a nobody that was killed by accident. Huh.

Not like Bind’s previous encounter with SPECTRE ended with fire, such as the kind that would cause Luxor’s injuries, or anything. So was this a red herring, a dropped plot point, or just an attempt at a memorable henchman?

And what’s with the ending? Did he suddenly realize he’d hit the contracted page count?

Feb 21, 2010

John "Black Jack" Pershing
Hard Fucking Core

-Why- were there marines at an Air Force installation?

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

Whatever happened with those goons from Nrw York? Weren’t they out for revenge?

Why did Blofeldaughter show Bond the secret entrance? Why did they want Bond to find out the plan before brainwashing him?

What was the point of the Louisiana manor? Was there any payoff to having the girl be Felix’s daughter? Some kind of parallel with the daughters of his friend and enemy?

Why didn’t he just go get help right away? What’s with the overly complicated ice cream factory and monorail? Why have a deadly car race / art purchase bet if they just wanted to gas him the whole time?

Apr 23, 2014

poisonpill posted:

Whatever happened with those goons from Nrw York? Weren’t they out for revenge?

There’s a mention in Cheyenne Mountain of an officer straining to burst out of his uniform with Mazzard and Luxor, so I think they’re meant to be accompanying the infiltration and presumably got shot.

Feb 11, 2014

"What we therefore hath joined together, let Gnoman put asunder..."

Pershing posted:

-Why- were there marines at an Air Force installation?

That is accurate. NORAD is not a pure Air Force command.

High Warlord Zog
Dec 12, 2012

Old, old news, but amusing. Here is the story of the next big spy novel that turned out the be stitched together from bits of John Gardner's Bond continuations, Robert Ludlum books and others:

Apr 23, 2014

Our book opens with an acknowledgement of the kind of research that went into it


I would like to thank those who gave invaluable assistance in the preparation of this book. First, to my good friends Erik Carlsson and Simo Lampinen who put up with me in the Arctic Circle. To John Edwards who suggested that I go to Finland, and made it possible. To Ian Adcock, who did not lose his temper, but remained placid, when, during a cross-country ride in northern Finland – in early February 1982 – I took him, not once, but three times, into snowdrifts.

My thanks also to that diplomat among Finnish gentlemen, Berhard Flander, who did the same thing to me in a slightly more embarrassing place – right on the Finnish-Russian border. We both thank the Finnish army for pulling us out.

Acknowledgments would not be complete without reference to Philip Hall, who has given me much support throughout.

Chapter 1: The Tripoli Incident


The Military Trade Mission Complex of the Socialist People’s Republic of Libya is situated some fifteen kilometres south-east of Tripoli. Set close to the coast, the Complex is well-hidden from prying eyes, screened on all sides by sweet-smelling eucalyptus, mature cypresses, and tall pines. From the air it might easily be taken for a prison. The kidney-shaped area is enclosed by a boundary of three separate, six-metre-high cyclone fences, each topped by a further metre of barbed and electrified wire. At night, dogs roam the runs between the fences, while regular patrols, in Cascavel armoured cars, circle outside the perimeter. The buildings within the compound are mainly functional. There is a low barracks, constructed in wood, for the security forces; two more comfortable structures act as ‘hotels’ – one for any foreign military delegation, the other to house their Libyan counterparts.

The Brazilian EE-9 Cascavel is a real armored car in Libya, designed in 1970 as a replacement for Brazil's old M8 Greyhounds from WW2. Libya was the second largest purchaser of the EE-9 at 500 vehicles, armed with a low-velocity DEFA D921 90mm gun on a turret adopted from the Panhard AML-90. They've seen regular use in conflict up through modern day in the fight against ISIS.


Between the ‘hotels’ stands an imposing, single-storey block. Its walls are over a metre thick, their solidity disguised by the pink stucco finish and an arched, cloistered façade. Steps lead to a main door, and the interior is cut down the centre by a single corridor. Administrative offices and a radio room extend to left and right of this passage which ends, abruptly, at a pair of heavy, high doors leading to a long, narrow room, bare but for its massive conference table and chairs, together with facilities for showing films, VTR, and slides.

There are no windows in this, the most important room of the Complex. Air conditioning maintains an even temperature, and a small metal door at the far end, used by cleaners and security personnel, is the only other entrance.

The Military Trade Mission Complex is used about five or six times a year, and the activities within are constantly monitored – as best they can be – by the intelligence agencies of the Western democracies.

On the morning it happened there were, perhaps, one hundred and forty people working within the compound.

At the time this book takes place, presumably 1982 or 1983, Libya had been ruled by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for about 13 years. He was a classic strongman dictator, establishing an "Islamic socialist" state in a bloodless coup. While Gaddafi initially gained prominence for raising the wealth of the nation and improving health care, education, and housing, he also brutally suppressed political dissent to the point of forcing the friends of execution victims to participate in their murders. He was obsessed with fighting the vague demons of imperialism and Zionism, leading to numerous clashes with other African nations and attempts to build or acquire nuclear and chemical weapons. This would come to a head after Gaddafi illegally declared that Libya controlled the entire Gulf of Sidra, resulting in two of their fighters being shot down by the US Navy in August 1981 after firing on them.

At this point, Libya has been in an ongoing border conflict with Chad for several years over control of the Aouzou Strip, a strip of land in northern Chad (the top of the Chad's hair in the meme) that Gaddafi is attempting to claim. Chad is already in the midst of a civil war of its own, with Libya's border war being a series of "interventions" for its own benefit.


Those in the capitals of the West who keep a weather eye on Middle Eastern events knew a deal had been struck. Although the likelihood of an official statement remained minimal, eventually Libya would receive more missiles, aircraft, and assorted military hardware to swell its already well-stocked arsenal.

The final session of the negotiations was to begin at nine-fifteen, and both parties stuck rigidly to protocol. The Libyan and Soviet delegations, each consisting of around twenty people, met in front of the pink stucco building, and, after the usual cordial greetings, made their way inside and down the corridor to the high doors, which were opened, on their well-oiled, noiseless hinges, by two armed guards.

About half of the two delegations had already advanced into the room when the whole phalanx halted, rooted in shock by the sight that met their eyes.

Ten identically dressed figures formed a wide crescent at the far end of the room. They wore combat jackets and grey denim trousers tucked into leather boots. Their appearance was made more sinister by the fine camouflage netting which covered their faces and was held in place by black berets, each of which carried a polished silver badge. The badge was that of a death-head above the letters NSAA, the whole flanked by lightning runes.

Incredible, for Libyan officers had checked the room less than fifteen minutes before the two delegations arrived outside the building.

So.....not SPECTRE?


The ten figures assumed the classic firing posture – left legs forward, bent at the knee, with the butts of machine pistols or automatic rifles tucked hard into their hips. Ten muzzles pointed towards the delegates already in the room, and at the remainder in the corridor outside. For a couple of seconds the scene was frozen. Then, as a wave of chaos and panic broke, the firing started.

The ten automatic weapons systematically hosed the doorway with fire. Bullets chewed through flesh and bone in a din magnified by the enclosed surroundings.

The burst of fire lasted for less than a minute, but when it stopped, all but six of the Soviet and Libyan delegates were either dead or fatally wounded. Only then did the Libyan troops and security officers go into action.

The assassination squad was exceptionally disciplined and well-trained. The fire fight – which lasted for some fifteen minutes – caught only three of the intruders while they remained in the room. The remainder escaped through the rear entrance, taking up defensive positions within the compound. The ensuing running battle claimed another twenty lives. At the end, the whole ten-man team lay dead with its victims, like pieces from some bizarre jigsaw puzzle.

At 9:00 AM the next morning, Reuters gets a phone message:


In the early hours of yesterday morning, three light aircraft, flying low to escape radar detection, cut their engines and glided in over the well-guarded Military Trade Mission Complex just outside Tripoli, the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Libya.

An Active Service unit of the National Socialist Action Army landed, undetected, by parachute, within the grounds of the Complex.

Later in the day, this unit struck a blow for International Fascism by executing a large number of people engaged in furthering the spread of the evil Communist ideology, which remains a threat to world peace and stability.

It is with pride that we mourn the deaths of this Active Service unit while carrying out its noble task. The unit came from our élite First Division.

Retribution for fraternisation, or trade, between Communist and non-Communist countries, or individuals, will be swift. We shall cut away the Communist bloc from the remainder of the free world.

This is Communiqué Number One from the NSAA High Command.

Are you supposed to pronounce "élite" with the accent over the phone, or...


At the time, it struck nobody as particularly sinister that the arms used by the NSAA group were all of Russian manufacture: six Kalashnikov RPK light machine guns and four of the RPK’s little brothers – the light, and very effective, AKM assault rifle. Indeed, in a world well used to terrorism, the raid itself was one headline among many for the media, who put the NSAA down as a small group of Fascist fanatics.

The RPK is part of the somewhat nebulous "automatic rifle" class of weapons. Not quite a light machine gun (it can use 75-round drums but they're heavy and can be unreliable), the RPK is a version of the AKM with a longer and heavier barrel, reinforced receiver, bipod, and unique stock designed for fire while prone. Soviet doctrine of the time was for standard riflemen to fire their AKs in semi-auto unless otherwise necessary, with the RPK providing a base of automatic fire. This doctrine has been long been debated as to whether it's a viable alternative to belt-fed light machine guns that can provide much more raw firepower.

InRange has an excellent video as usual, which goes over the reasons for adopting an automatic rifle: it's much less hassle for a soldier to carry an automatic rifle with extended magazines than a proper machine gun with belts, magazine replacements are faster than loading new belts, magazines and many mechanical parts are interchangeable with the standard assault rifle (so logistics and field resupply is easier), and the manual of arms is essentially identical.


A little under a month after what came to be known as ‘the Tripoli Incident’, five members of the British Communist Party held a dinner to entertain three visiting Russian Party members, who were on a goodwill mission to London.

It's Amis's old buddies!


The dinner was held in a house not far from Trafalgar Square, and coffee had just been served when the ringing of the front doorbell called the host from the table. A large amount of vodka, brought by the Russians, had been drunk by everybody present.

The four men standing outside the front door were dressed in paramilitary uniforms similar to those worn during the Tripoli Incident.

The host – a prominent and vociferous member of the British Communist Party – was shot dead on his own doorstep. The remaining four Britons, and three Russians, were dispatched in a matter of seconds.

The killers disappeared and were not apprehended.

During the post mortems on these eight victims, it became clear that all had died from shots fired from Russian-manufactured weapons – probably Makarov or Stetchkin automatic pistols; the ammunition being identified as made in the USSR.

Communiqué Number Two, from the NSAA High Command, was issued at nine o’clock GMT the next day. This time, the Active Service unit was named as having belonged to ‘the Adolf Hitler Kommando’.

The Makarov and Stechkin are two pistols that could not be farther in purpose, despite being the same core design.

The Makarov PM was the standard Soviet service pistol from 1951 until....pretty much now? It's officially supposed to be replaced by all sorts of pistols from the MP-443 Grach in 9x19mm Parabellum to the Udav pistol in 9x21mm SPS, but a combination of cost and quality control issues have led to the venerable old Makarov remaining in service all across Eastern Europe for the foreseeable future.

The reason for this is that the Makarov is a cheap, dead simple pistol. It's chambered for a unique 9x18mm Makarov round based on old German developments for a more powerful alternative to .380 ACP and uses a simple blowback operation; 9mm Makarov is generally regarded as the most powerful mass produced round that you can reliably use in a compact and functional blowback pistol without needing to switch to a locked breech. Many of the components serve multiple purposes (the magazine catch is the bottom of the mainspring, for instance) and the gun in general is highly durable and easy to maintain.

The Stechkin APS is immediately identifiable as a derivative of the design, only far larger and with a detachable shoulder stock/holster like the Mauser C96.....and a selector switch. The Stechkin is a select-fire machine pistol, intended originally as a personal defense weapon for drivers, officers, artillery crews, and others who needed a compact automatic weapon when not fighting as a front line soldier. Unfortunately, pretty much every machine pistol runs into the problem of being uncontrollably inaccurate beyond point blank range. While the Spetsnaz continued using the APB variant with a lighter wire stock and suppressor, the AKS-74U carbine variant of the AK-74 ended up replacing it.


In the following twelve months, no fewer than thirty ‘incidents’ involving multiple assassinations ordered by the NSAA High Command became headline news.

In West Berlin, Bonn, Paris, Washington, Rome, New York, London – for the second time – Madrid, Milan, and several Middle Eastern cities, prominent Communists were killed, together with people engaged in official, or merely friendly, discussions with them. Among those who died were three outspoken British and American trade unionists.

Members of the assassination squads also lost their lives, but no prisoners from the organisation were taken. On four occasions, NSAA men committed suicide to escape capture.

Each of the assassinations was quick, carried out with careful planning and a high standard of military precision. After every incident, the inevitable High Command Communiqué was issued, presented in the stilted language common to all ideologies. Each Communiqué gave details of the supposed Active Service unit involved, and the old names, such as the First Eichmann Kommando and the Heinrich Himmler SS Division, brought back ugly memories of the infamous Third Reich. To the world’s police and security services, this was the only constant: the one clue. No evidence came from the bodies of dead NSAA men and women. It was as though they had suddenly appeared, fully grown, born into the NSAA. Not a single corpse was identified. Forensic experts toiled over small hints; security agencies investigated their leads; missing persons bureaux followed similar traces. All ended at brick walls.

One newspaper sounded like a poster for some 1940s’ movie:

They come out of nowhere, kill, or die, or disappear – returning to their lairs. Have these followers of the dark Nazi Age returned from their graves, to wreak vengeance on their former conquerors? Until now, the bulk of urban terrorism has been motivated by leftist ideals. The self-styled and efficient NSAA brings with it a new, and highly disturbing, dimension.

"It's like this is a pulp novel!"


Yet, in the shadows of that hidden, and secret, world of intelligence and security communities, people were beginning to stir uneasily as though awakening from bad dreams only to find that the dreams were reality. It began with exchanges of views, then, cautiously, of information. Finally they groped their way towards a strange, and unprecedented, alliance.

Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.

I’m waiting for Gardner to drop the ball but this is a pretty decent hook. Im guessing they’re some kind of Soviet splinter group

Dec 24, 2007

I guess the 80s are late enough into the Cold War that if Nazis(?) are killing Communists the response of the US and UK wouldn't be to just sit back and

Apr 23, 2014

poisonpill posted:

I’m waiting for Gardner to drop the ball but this is a pretty decent hook. Im guessing they’re some kind of Soviet splinter group

You think too simply.

Also, Gun Jesus shot the Stechkin. He immediately demonstrates how useless it actually is as a machine pistol:

On the other hand, dual wielding is theoretically possible at someone's doorstep!

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 23:46 on Dec 21, 2020

Ichabod Sexbeast
Dec 5, 2011

Giving 'em the old razzle-dazzle

chitoryu12 posted:

You think too simply.

Blofeld III: I Can't Believe It's Not Blofeld orchestrated the entire thing for the sole, convoluted purpose of getting James Bond to one specific spot where he could fail to be killed in an overdramatic fashion, also there are racist depictions of chinese people

Apr 23, 2014

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 2: A Liking for Blondes


Long before he joined the Service, James Bond had used a particular system of mnemonics to keep telephone numbers in his head. Now he carried the numbers of a thousand or so people filed away, available for immediate recall, in the computer of his memory. Most of the numbers came under the heading of work, so were best not committed to writing in any case.

There is no way you remember all of those.


Paula Vacker was not work. Paula was strictly play and pleasure.

In his room at the Inter-Continental Hotel, at the northern end of Helsinki’s broad arterial Mannerheimintie, Bond tapped out the telephone number. It rang twice and a girl answered in Finnish.

That would be the Hotelli InterContinental Helsinki, now the Scandic Park Helsinki, which opened in 1972 opposite Hesperia Park. The Mannerheimintie is the main street of Helsinki, named after famed Finnish military and political leader Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. Mannerheim led the Finnish White Guard to defeat against the communist Reds in the Finnish Civil War in 1918, avoiding Finland following along in the footsteps of the Russian Revolution, and served as the commander in chief of the Finnish military during the Winter War against the Soviet Union. He was appointed president in 1944, oversaw peace negotiations....and then resigned in 1946. Quite unexpected. Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi took over as president and pushed for peaceful relations with the Soviet Union, with Mannerheim dying in 1951.

Mannerheim is sort of a 20th century George Washington to Finland. He was unusual (and highly respected today) for broadly avoiding partisan politics and being respectable enough that even Churchill had trouble stomaching the need to officially declare war on Finland for being an Axis power (the two of them politely corresponded their regret at the circumstances). Mannerheim's foresight in foreign relations and personal courage fighting on the front lines earned him incredible respect, and his willfully stepping down for a peaceful transition of power instead of trying to become a strongman dictator in his final years engendered a firmer respect for democratic processes as a whole in Finland. He's arguably the man responsible for ensuring Finland's relative independence during the Cold War and modern success.


Bond spoke in respectful English. ‘Paula Vacker, please.’

The Finnish operator lapsed easily into Bond’s native tongue: ‘Who shall I say is calling?’

‘My name’s Bond. James Bond.’

‘One moment, Mr Bond. I’ll see if Ms Vacker’s available.’

English is widely spoken to some degree in Finland, with a 2005 survey finding that about 65% of respondents were conversational in it and current estimates are around 70%. Foreign language education has been part of every Finnish child's school curriculum since the 1970s and English is predominant, so it's common to find Finns who speak it on at least a basic level.


Silence. Then a click and the voice he knew well. ‘James? James, where are you?’ The accent was only lightly touched by that sing-song lilt so common to the Scandinavians.

Bond said he was at the Inter-Continental.

‘Here? Here in Helsinki?’ She did not bother to disguise her pleasure.

‘Yes,’ Bond confirmed, ‘here in Helsinki. Unless Finnair got it wrong.’

‘Finnair are like homing pigeons,’ she said with a laugh. ‘They don’t often get it wrong. But what a surprise. Why didn’t you let me know you were coming?’

‘Didn’t know myself,’ Bond lied. ‘Sudden change in plan.’ That at least was partly true. ‘Just had to pass through Helsinki so I thought I’d stop over. A kind of whim.’


‘A caprice. A sudden fancy. How could I possibly pass through Helsinki without seeing Paula Beautiful?’

She laughed; the real thing. Bond imagined her head thrown back, and mouth open, showing the lovely teeth and delicate pink tongue. Paula Vacker’s name suggested she had Swedish connections. A direct translation from Swedish would make her Paula Beautiful. The name was well-suited.

Of course.


‘Are you free tonight?’ It would be a dull evening if she were not available.

She gave her special laugh again, full of humour and without that stridency some career women develop. ‘For you, James, I’m always free. But never easy.’ It was an old joke, first made by Bond himself. At the time it had been more than apt.

Someone should tell Moore that.


They had known each other for some five years now, having first met in London.

It was spring when it happened, the kind of London spring that makes the office girls look as if they enjoy going to work, and when the parks are yellow carpets of daffodils.

The days were just starting to lengthen, and there was a Foreign Office binge, to oil the wheels of international commerce. Bond was there on business – to watch for faces. In fact there had been words about it, for internal security was a matter for MI5, not for Bond’s Service. However, the Foreign Office, under whose auspices the party was being held, had won the day. Grudgingly, ‘Five’ compromised, on the understanding they would have a couple of men there as well.

From a professional viewpoint the party was a flop. Paula, however, was another matter.

There was no question of Bond seeing her across a crowded room, you just could not miss her. It was as though no other girls had been invited; and the other girls did not like it one bit – especially the older ones and the Foreign Service femmes fatales who always haunt such parties.

To test spies to see if they spill state secrets while drunk? Because that happens a lot!


Paula wore white. She had a tan needing no help from a bottle, a complexion which, if catching, would put all the make-up firms out of business, and thick blonde hair, so heavy that it seemed to fall straight back into place even in a force ten gale. If all this were not enough, she was slender, sexy, had large grey-flecked eyes, and lips shaped for one purpose. Bond’s first thoughts were wholly professional. What a flytrap she would make, he decided, knowing they had problems getting good flytraps in Finland. He stayed clear for a long time, making sure she had come unescorted. Then he moved in and introduced himself, saying that the Minister had asked him to look after her. Two years later, in Rome, Paula told him the Minister had himself tried it on quite early in the evening – before Mrs Minister arrived.

She was in London for a week. On that first evening Bond took her to a late supper at the Ritz, which she found ‘quaint’. At her hotel, Paula gently gave him the elbow – king size.

Bond laid siege. First, he tried to impress, but she did not like the Connaught, the Inn on the Park, Tiberio’s, the Dorchester, the Savoy, or the Royal Garden Roof; while tea at Brown’s she found merely ‘amusing’. He was just about to take her on the Tramps’ and Annabel’s circuit when she found Au Savarin in Charlotte Street for herself. It was ‘her’, and the patron came and sat at their table, towards the end of meals, so that they could swap risqué stories. Bond was not so sure about that.

Au Savarin is the next of the many closed Gardner restaurants, located at 8 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, London (now home to the Norma restaurant). This area has long been one of the happening night life spots in the neighborhood, and a 1961 newspaper article lists it as a small, well-known restaurant with an excellent wine list.


They became firm friends very quickly, discovering mutual interests – in sailing, jazz, and the works of Eric Ambler. There was also another sport which finally came to full fruition on the fourth evening. Bond, whose standards were known to be exacting, admitted she deserved the gold star with oak leaves. In turn she awarded him the oak leaf cluster. He was not sure about that either.


Over the following years they stayed very good friends, and – to put it mildly – kissing cousins. They met, often by accident, in places as diverse as New York and the French port of Dieppe, where he had last seen her the previous autumn. This night in Helsinki would be Bond’s first chance to see Paula on her home ground.

Yes, very normal for a spy to repeatedly meet a hot girl by accident all around the world.


‘Dinner?’ he asked.

‘If I can choose the restaurant.’

‘Don’t you always?’

‘You want to pick me up?’

‘That, and other things.’

‘My place. Six-thirty? You’ve got the address?’

‘Engraved on my heart, pretty Paula.’

‘You say that to all the girls.’

‘Mostly, but I’m honest about it; and you know I have a special liking for blondes.’

‘You’re a traitor, staying at the Inter-Continental. Why aren’t you staying Finnish, at the Hesperia?’

‘Because you get electric shocks off the lift buttons there.’

‘You get them at the Inter-Continental too. It’s to do with the cold and the central heating . . .’

‘. . . and the carpets. I know. But these are more expensive electric shocks, and I’m not paying. I can charge it, so I may as well have luxurious electric shocks.’

‘Be very careful what you touch. Any metals give shocks indoors here, at this time of the year. Be careful in the bathroom, James.’

‘I’ll wear rubber shoes.’

‘It wasn’t your feet I was thinking about. So glad you had a whim, James. See you at six-thirty’, and she rang off before he could come up with a smooth reply.

Oh, Fleming would like this one.


Outside, the temperature hovered around twenty-five degrees Centigrade below. Bond stretched his muscles, then relaxed, taking his gunmetal case from the bedside table and lighting a cigarette – one of the ‘specials’ made for him, by arrangement with H. Simmons of Burlington Arcade.

The room was warm and well-insulated, and there was a glow of immense satisfaction as he exhaled a stream of smoke towards the ceiling. The job certainly had its compensations. Only that morning Bond had left temperatures of forty below, for his true reason for being in Helsinki was connected with a recent trip to the Arctic Circle.

January is not the most pleasant time of year to visit the Arctic. If, however, you have to do some survival training of a clandestine nature in severe winter conditions, the Finnish area of the Arctic Circle is as good a place as any.

The Service believed in keeping its field officers in peak condition and trained in all modern techniques. Hence Bond’s disappearance, at least once a year, to work out with 22 Special Air Service Regiment, near Hereford; and his occasional trips to Poole in Dorset to be updated on equipment and tactics used by the Royal Marine Special Boat Squadron.

A good reason never to join the military!


Even though the old élite Double-0 section, with its attendant ‘licence to kill in the course of duty’, had now been phased out of the Service, Bond still found himself stuck with the role of 007. The gruff Chief of Service known to all as M had been most specific about it. ‘As far as I’m concerned, you will remain 007. I shall take full responsibility for you, and you will, as ever, accept orders and assignments only from me. There are moments when this country needs a trouble-shooter – a blunt instrument – and by Jove it’s going to have one.’

Yes yes, we all read this in the first book.


In more official terms, Bond was what the American Service speaks of as a ‘singleton’ – a roving case officer who is given free rein to carry out special tasks, such as the ingenious undercover work he had undertaken during the Falkland Islands conflict in1982. Then he had even appeared – unidentifiable – on a television newsflash, but that had passed like all things.

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago about 300 miles east of the southern tip of South America, which are officially a British overseas territory. While these tiny and chilly islands with a population under 4000 today may seem insignificant, they've been the source of conflict for centuries. Their main value today is that ownership of the islands provides access to not only valuable fishing and oil reserves, but assists in claims on mineral rights in Antarctica in the event that mining is allowed in the next few decades.

Argentina has disputed the British claim on the islands, and on April 2, 1982 invaded the Falklands (and the island of South Georgia) to bolster the power of the military junta during a time of economic stagnation and civil unrest. Contrary to their expectations, the British responded, and a 74-day war (which was never declared a war officially) was fought over control of the islands. The UK won the war handily, bolstering the Conservative government's control and leading to the end of seven decades of military dictatorship in Argentina due to outrage at the rather humiliating loss.


In order to keep Bond at a high, proficient level, M usually managed to set up at least one gruelling field exercise each year. This time it had been more cold climate work, and the orders had come quickly, leaving Bond little time to prepare for the ordeal.

During the winter, members of the SAS units trained regularly among the snows of Norway. This year, as an added hazard, M had arranged that Bond should embark on a training exercise within the Arctic Circle, under cover, and with no permission either sought or granted from the country in which he would operate – Finland.

The operation, which had no sinister, or even threatening, implications, entailed a week of survival exercises, in the company of a pair of SAS men and two officers of the SBS.

Are you sure that's not sinister and threatening?


These military and Marine personnel would have a tougher time than Bond, for their part would demand two clandestine border crossings – from Norway into Sweden, then, still secretly, over the Finnish border to meet up with Bond in Lapland.

There, for seven days, the group would ‘live off the belt’, as it was called: surviving with only the bare necessities carried on their specially designed belts. Their mission was survival in difficult terrain, while remaining unseen and unidentified.

"Without falling into a sauna, Bond."


This week would be followed by a further four days, with Bond as leader, in which a photographic and sound-stealing run would be made along Finland’s border with the Soviet Union. After that, they would separate – the SAS and SBS men to be picked up by helicopter in a remote area, while Bond took another course.

There was no difficulty about cover in Finland, as far as Bond was concerned. He had yet to test-drive his own Saab Turbo – ‘The Silver Beast’ as he called it – in harsh winter conditions.

Saab-Scania hold an exacting Winter Driving Course each year, within the Arctic Circle, near the Finnish ski resort of Rovaniemi. Arranging an invitation to take part in the course was easy, requiring only a couple of telephone calls. Within twenty-four hours Bond had his car – complete with all its secret ‘extras’, built in at his own expense by Communications Control Systems – freighted to Finland. Bond then flew, via Helsinki, to Rovaniemi, to meet up with driving experts, like his old friend Erik Carlsson, and the dapper Simo Lampinen.

Wow, where have we heard those names before?

In real life, Carlsson and Lampinen were rally drivers (Swedish and Finnish, respectively) who dominated the sport in Gardner's time. Carlsson in particular was known as "Mr. Saab" for his public relations work with the company. For all Gardner's faults in these plots, he did legitimately put effort into learning the subjects he was interested in and actually recruited the skills of these two drivers to train him in winter driving as part of his book research.


The Driving Course took only a few days, after which – with a word to the massive Erik Carlsson, who promised to keep his eye on the Silver Beast – Bond left the hotel near Rovaniemi in the early hours of a bitterly cold morning.

The winter clothing, he thought, would do little for his image with the ladies back home. Damart thermal underwear is scarcely conducive to certain activities. Over long johns, he wore a track suit, heavy rollneck sweater, padded ski pants and jacket, while his feet were firmly laced into Mukluk boots. A thermal hood, scarf, woollen hat and goggles protected his face; Damart gloves inside leather gauntlets did the same for his hands. A small pack contained the necessities, including his own version of the SAS/SBS webbing belt.

Bond trudged through snow, which came up to his knees in the easier parts, taking care not to stray from the narrow track he had reconnoitred during the daylight hours. A wrong move to left or right could land him in snowdrifts deep enough to cover a small car.

The snow scooter was exactly where the briefing officers said it would be. Nobody was going to ask questions about how it got there. Snow scooters are difficult machines to manhandle with the engine off, and it took Bond a good ten minutes to heave and pull this one from its hiding place beneath solid and unyielding fir branches. He then hauled it to the top of a long slope which ran downwards for almost a kilometre. A push and the machine moved forward, giving Bond just enough time to leap on to the saddle and thrust his legs into the protective guards.

Sporty snowmobiles, such as this 1981 Scorpion Sidewinder, were still relatively new in their modern form. The Ski-Doo appeared in 1957 but it wasn't until the 70s that they became big business, often with motorcycle manufacturers hastily trying to cash in on the market.


Silently, the scooter slid down the long slope, finally coming to a stop as the weight and momentum ran out. Though sound carried easily across the snow, he was now far enough from the hotel to start the engine safely – after taking a compass bearing, and checking his map with a shaded torch. The little motor came to life. Bond opened the throttle, engaged the gear and began his journey. It took twenty-four hours to meet up with his colleagues.

Rovaniemi had been an ideal choice. From the town one can move quickly north to the more desolate areas. It is also only a couple of fast hours’ travel on a snow scooter to the more accessible points along the Russo-Finnish border; to places like Salla, the scene of great battles during the war between the Russians and Finns in 1939–40. Farther north, the frontier zone becomes more inhospitable.

Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland, the northernmost province of Finland. It's famous for its massive tracts of unspoiled natural land, making it a huge tourist destination. It's even classified as "The Official Home of Santa Claus" by Finland.


During summer, this part of the Arctic Circle is not unpleasant; but in winter, when blizzards, deep-freeze conditions, and heavy snow take over, the country can be treacherous, and wretched, for the unwary.

When it was all over and the two exercises with the SAS and SBS completed, Bond expected to be exhausted, in need of rest, sleep, and relaxation of the kind he could only find in London. During the worst moments of the ordeal his thoughts had been, in fact, of the comfort to be found in his Chelsea flat. He was, then, quite unprepared to discover that, on returning to Rovaniemi a couple of weeks later, his body surged with an energy and sense of fitness he had not experienced for a considerable time.

Arriving back in the early hours, he slipped into the Ounasvaara Polar Hotel – where Saab had their Winter Driving Headquarters – left a message for Erik Carlsson saying he would send full instructions regarding the movement of the Silver Beast, then hitched a lift to the airport and boarded the next flight to Helsinki. At that point, his plan was to catch a connection straight on to London.

This hotel is now the Lapland Sky Hotel Ounasvaara if you want to check in. It's located in the forest just outside Rovaniemi proper and connected by a downhill run to the Ounasvaara Winter Sports Center.


It was only as the DC9–50 was making its approach into Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport, at around 12.30 pm, that James Bond thought of Paula Vacker. The thought grew, assisted no doubt by his new-found sense of well-being and physical sharpness.

Oh yeah, all that stuff with the snowmobile was just a brief flashback! The writing here can be somewhat ambiguous.


By the time the aircraft touched down, Bond’s plans were changed completely. There was no set time for him to be back in London; he was owed leave anyway, even though M had instructed him to return as soon as he could get away from Finland. Nobody was really going to miss him for a couple of days.

From the airport, he took a cab directly to the Inter-Continental and checked in. As soon as the porter had brought his case to the room, Bond threw himself on to the bed and made his telephone call to Paula. Six-thirty at her place. He smiled with anticipation.

There was no way that Bond could know that the simple act of calling up an old girlfriend, and asking her out to dinner, was going to change his life drastically over the next few weeks.

Kemper Boyd
Aug 6, 2007

no kings, no gods, no masters but a comfy chair and no socks

Two notes:

The Hesperia hotel is notorious for sex workers working out of the hotel bar. So maybe Bond would have felt more home at the Hesperia?

Paula Vacker means "Paula Beautiful" but it is Swedish and not Finnish.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005


They became firm friends very quickly, discovering mutual interests – in sailing, jazz, and the works of Eric Ambler

Eric Ambler was a highly influential pre-Fleming spy novelist who is often credited with establishing some of the conventions of the genre. His books usually starred amateur protagonists caught up in espionage through bad luck (in the manner of Richard Hannay in The Thirty-Nine Steps) who then wrong-foot their enemies through not doing what a professional spy would do. He was a year younger than Fleming and had an equally good war (he was taken from the Royal Artillery to the Army's film-making unit); his first book was published in 1936, predicting the development of nuclear weapons, and his final book in 1981. He also wrote screenplays with considerable success, most notably an Oscar nomination for The Cruel Sea in 1953.

Fleming himself enjoyed Ambler enough to give Bond a copy of The Mask of Dimitrios to read in From Russia, With Love. He tries to read it on the plane to Istanbul and the train back, but keeps getting distracted by other things. Presumably he persevered later.

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

chitoryu12 posted:

There is no way you remember all of those.

Looks like John Gardner read some Martin Gardner!

(Though if the scepticism's because of the number of blows to the head and neuron-destroying drinks Bond's taken over the years I agree.)

chitoryu12 posted:

Argentina has disputed the British claim on the islands, and on April 2, 1982 invaded the Falklands (and the island of South Georgia) to bolster the power of the military junta during a time of economic stagnation and civil unrest. Contrary to their expectations, the British responded, and a 74-day war (which was never declared a war officially) was fought over control of the islands. The UK won the war handily, bolstering the Conservative government's control and leading to the end of seven decades of military dictatorship in Argentina due to outrage at the rather humiliating loss.

Was it never an official war? The Brit tabloids were blaring WAR WAR WAR nonstop.

chitoryu12 posted:

Are you sure that's not sinister and threatening?

Certainly sounds it to me, and I bet the Finnish government would feel that way too.

So this isn't Bond vs Neonazi Terrorism Gang? Pity, that sounded fun and surprisingly up-to-date.

Apr 23, 2014

Gats Akimbo posted:

Was it never an official war? The Brit tabloids were blaring WAR WAR WAR nonstop.

It's one of the great many modern wars in which nobody legally declared war on the other country. Everyone could clearly see it for what it was, but there was nothing on the books saying it was "a war" in the legal sense.

Fun fact: the US has never declared war since 1942!

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

chitoryu12 posted:

It's one of the great many modern wars in which nobody legally declared war on the other country. Everyone could clearly see it for what it was, but there was nothing on the books saying it was "a war" in the legal sense.

Fun fact: the US has never declared war since 1942!

Yay for technicalities!

Dec 24, 2007

Gats Akimbo posted:

Yay for technicalities!

Means the US hasn't lost one since then either!

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 3: Knives for Dinner


After a warm shower and shave, Bond dressed carefully. It was pleasant to get back into a well-cut grey gaberdine suit, plain blue Coles shirt, and one of his favourite Jacques Fath knitted ties. Even in the depths of winter, the hotels and good restaurants of Helsinki prefer gentlemen to wear ties.

The Heckler & Koch P7, which now replaced the heavier VP70, lay comfortably in its spring-clip holster under the left armpit, and to stave off the raw cold, Bond reached the hotel foyer wearing his Crombie British Warm. It gave him a military air – especially with the fur headgear – but that always proved an advantage in Scandinavian countries.

Finally, he gets a good gun!

The model Bond is carrying is most likely the one properly called the PSP, the original model by HK that was adopted by German police under the designation P7 (the P7M8, with modifications to better suit the American market, was still being rolled out at the time of writing and publication). It's distinguished by having an operating system like no other: it's single-action, but with the striker normally decocked. The massive front of the grip is a huge squeeze cocking lever that cocks the striker when holding the gun in a firm firing grip. This allows for a gun that has a light and crisp trigger pull but is totally safe when not being held ready to fire. It also uses a gas-delayed blowback system, in which some of the combustion gases of firing are tapped off below the barrel to act on a piston and slow the motion of the slide opening, creating for a surprisingly simple design. The straight barrel (not tilting like on a 1911 or the like) and single-action trigger combine to make for a very accurate pistol.

It's still not all roses. Bond's gun is likely the early version without a heat shield above the trigger, and the gas-delay system means that the area above your trigger finger can get uncomfortably hot after just 2 magazines. It has a single-stack 8-round magazine, which (as you can see in the above video) means reloading is constant in the kind of pitched gunfights Bond gets into. And most importantly, it requires training. Anyone carrying a P7 seriously needs to train themselves to very firmly grip the gun when drawing; while it takes only 2 pounds of force to maintain it after cocking, it takes about 15 pounds to cock it on the draw. It's very easy for an untrained user to find themselves with an unusable gun if they simply grab it and try to shoot it.

That said, this is James Bond. The guy has canonically sniped the driver of a speeding car with a .25 with the sights removed. If anyone is good enough to overcome this gun's flaws, it's him. It's not the gun that will stay with him in Gardner's run, but he never goes back to the outright bad choices of the first two books.

As for the "British Warm", it's just a heavy double-breasted wool overcoat of the kind worn in both World Wars by British officers.


The taxi bowled steadily south, down the Mannerheimintie. Snow was neatly piled off the main pavements, and the trees bowed under its weight, some decorated – as though for Christmas – with long icicles festooning the branches. Near the National Museum, with its sharp tower fingering the sky, one tree seemed to crouch like a white cowled monk clutching a glittering dagger.

Over all, through the clear frost, Bond could glimpse the dominating floodlit domes of the Upensky Cathedral – the Great Church – and knew, immediately, why film-makers used Helsinki when they wanted location shots of Moscow.

The two cities are really as unlike one another as desert and jungle – the modern buildings of the Finnish capital being designed and executed with flair and beauty, in contrast to the ugly cloned monsters of Moscow. It is in the older sections of both cities that the mirror image becomes uncanny – in the side streets and small squares, where houses lean in on one another, and the ornate façades are reminders of what Moscow once was, in the good old, bad old days of tsars, princes and inequality. Now, Bond thought, they simply had the Politburo, Commissars, the KGB and . . . inequality.

He's not wrong!


Paula lived in an apartment building overlooking the Esplanade Park, at the south-easterly end of the Mannerheimintie. It was a part of the city Bond had never visited before, so his arrival was one of surprise and delight.

The park itself is a long, landscaped strip running between the houses. There were signs that in summer it would be an idyllic spot with trees, rock gardens, and paths. Now, in mid-winter, the Esplanade Park took on a new, original function. Artists of varied ages and ability had turned the place into an open-air gallery of snow sculpture. From the fresh snow of recent days there rose shapes and figures lovingly created earlier in winter: abstract masses; pieces so delicate you would imagine they could only be carved from wood, or worked at with patience in metal. Jagged aggression stood next to the contemplative curves of peace, while animals – naturalistic or only suggested in angular blocks – squared up to one another, or bared empty winter mouths towards hurrying passers-by, huddled and furred against the cold.

The cab pulled up almost opposite a life-sized work of a man and woman entwined in an embrace from which only the warmth of spring could separate them.

The Esplanadi is a long, open park opened in 1818 on the very southern end of the Mannerheimintie, about a 5 minute drive from Bond's hotel without traffic.


Around the park, the buildings were mainly old, with a few modern edifices looking like new buffer states bridging gaps in living history.

For no logical reason, Bond had imagined that Paula would live in a new and shining apartment block. Instead, he found her address to be a house four storeys high, with shuttered windows and fresh green paint, decorated by blossoms of snow hanging like window-box flowers, and frosted along the scrollwork and gutters, as though December vandals had taken spray cans to the most available parts.

Two curved, half-timbered gables divided the house, which had a single entrance, glass-panelled and unlocked. Just inside the door, a row of metal mailboxes signified who lived where, the personal cards in tiny frames. The hallway and stairs were bare of carpet, and the smell of good polish mingled now with tantalising cooking fragrances.

Paula lived on the third floor – 3A – and Bond, slipping the buttons on his British Warm, began to make his way up the stairs. At each landing he noted two doors, to left and right, solid and well-built, with bell-pushes and the twins of the framed cards on the mailboxes set below them.

At the third turning of the stairs he saw Paula Vacker’s name elegantly engraved on a business card under the bell for 3A. Out of curiosity, Bond glanced at 3B. Its occupant was a Major A. Nyblin. He pictured a retired army man holed up with military paintings, books on strategy and the war novels – such a going concern in Finnish publishing – keeping memories alive of those three Wars of Independence in which the nation fought against Russia: first against the Revolution; then against invasion; and, finally, cheek by jowl with the Wehrmacht.

At least until September 1944, when Finland signed a treaty with Russia and switched sides to fight against the Nazis.


Bond pressed Paula’s bell, hard and long, then stood square to the small spy-hole visible in the door’s centre panel. From the inside came the rattle of a chain, then the door opened, and there she was, dressed in a long silk robe fastened loosely with a tie belt. The same Paula, inviting and as attractive as ever.

Bond saw her lips move, as though trying to speak words of welcome. In that instant he realised that this was not the same Paula. Her cheeks were drained white, one hand trembled on the door. Deep in the grey-flecked eyes was the unmistakable flicker of fear.

Intuition, they taught in Service training, is something you learn through experience: you are not born with it, like an extra sense.

Loudly Bond said, ‘It’s only me from over the sea’, at the same time sticking one foot forward, the side of his shoe against the door. ‘Glad I came?’ As he spoke, Bond grabbed Paula by the shoulder with his left hand, spinning her, pulling her on to the landing. His right hand had already gone for the automatic. In less than three seconds, Paula was against the wall near Major Nyblin’s door, while Bond had sidestepped into the apartment, the Heckler & Koch out and ready.

There were two of them. A small runt, with a thin, pockmarked face was to Bond’s left, flat against the inside wall, where he had been covering Paula with a revolver which looked like a Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special. At the far side of the room – there was no hallway – a large man with oversized hands and the face of a failed boxer stood poised beside a beautiful chrome and leather chair-and-sofa suite. His distinguishing features included a nose which looked like a very advanced carbuncle. He carried no visible weapon.

It would be quite a feat for Bond to recognize specifically a Charter Arms! The Undercover is an inexpensive 5-shot revolver first produced in 1964 and still available in a more modernized form today. Quality control on Charter Arms guns can be iffy, but they're so common that the infamous serial killer David Berkowitz used a .44 Bulldog by them.


The runt’s gun came up to Bond’s left, and the boxer began to move. Bond went for the gun. The big Heckler & Koch seemed to move only fractionally in Bond’s hand as it clipped down, with force, on to the runt’s wrist. The revolver spun away, and there was a yelp of pain above the sharp crack of bone.

Keeping the Heckler & Koch pointing towards the larger man, Bond used his left arm to spin the runt in front of him like a shield. At the same time, Bond brought his knee up hard. The little gunman crumpled, his good hand flailing ineffectually to protect his groin. He squeaked like a pig and squirmed at Bond’s feet.

The larger of the two seemed undeterred by the gun, which indicated either great courage or mental deficiency. A Heckler & Koch could, at this range, blow away a high percentage of human being.

It's a 9mm, not a cannon!


Bond stepped over the body of the runt, kicking back with his right heel. Raising the automatic, arms outstretched, Bond shouted at his advancing adversary, ‘Stop, or you’re a dead man.’ It was more of a command than a warning; for Bond’s finger was already tightening on the trigger.

The one with the carbuncle nose did not do as he was told. Instead he suggested, in bad Russian, that Bond commit incest with his female parent.

That is the most British way to put that.


Bond hardly saw him swerve. The man was better than he had estimated, and very fast. As he slewed, Bond moved to follow him with the automatic. Only then did he feel the sharp, unnatural pain in his right shoulder.

For a second, the blossom of agony took Bond off balance. His arms dropped, and Carbuncle-nose’s foot came up. Bond realised that you cannot be right about people all the time. This was a live one, the real thing – a killer, trained, accurate, and experienced.

Together with this knowledge, Bond was conscious of three things going on simultaneously: the pain in his shoulder; the gun being kicked from his hand – the weapon flying away to hit the wall – and, behind him, the whimpering of the runt, decreasing in volume as he made his escape down the stairs.

Carbuncle-nose was closing fast, one shoulder dropped, the body sideways.

Bond took a quick step back and to his right, against the wall. As he moved, he spotted what had caused the pain in his shoulder. Embedded in the door’s lintel was an eight-inch knife with a horn grip and a blade curving away towards the point. It was a skinning knife, like those used to great effect by the Lapps when separating the carcase of a reindeer from its hide.

This sounds like a lapinleuku, a traditional knife used by the Sámi (the "Lapps" as Gardner calls them), the indigenous people of parts of Scandinavia and Murmansk, Russia. The rights of the Sámi people and the effort to fight for them is not unlike that of Native Americans over here, and equally fraught with the government just outright ignoring their concerns in the name of progress and profit. The Sámi are also an easy point of confusion for people with very simplistic takes on racism and white supremacy in Europe, as they're often easily recognizable as "white" to them despite facing similar historic oppression. Turns out things get complicated once you get off American Twitter.


Grabbing upwards, Bond’s fingers closed around the grip. His shoulder now felt numb with pain. He crabbed quickly to one side, with the knife firmly in his right hand, blade upwards, thumb and forefinger to the front of the grip in the fighting hold. Always, they taught, use the thrust position, never hold a knife with the thumb on the back. Never defend with a knife; always attack.

Bond turned, square on, toward Carbuncle-nose, knees bending, one foot forward for balance in the classic knife-fighting posture.

Carbuncle-nose was familiar with the rules, but it did slow him down. Bond figured him as a knifeman who did not know much about guns. He certainly had knives taped: there was a similar weapon now in the large right hand. Legerdemain.

‘What was it you said about my mother?’ Bond growled, in better Russian than his adversary.

Carbuncle-nose grinned, showing stained teeth. ‘Now we see, Mr Bond.’

Now this is pulp action!


They circled one another, Bond kicking away a small stand chair, giving the pair a wider fighting arena. Carbuncle-nose began to toss his knife from hand to hand, light on his feet, moving all the time, tightening the circle. It was a well-known confusion tactic: keep your man guessing and lure him in close, then strike.

Come on, Bond thought, come on; in; closer; come to me. Carbuncle-nose was doing just that, oblivious of the danger of winding the spiral too tightly. Bond kept his eyes locked with those of the big man, his senses tuned to the enemy knife as it glinted, arcing from hand to hand, the grip slapping the palm with a firm thump on each exchange.

The end came suddenly and fast.

Carbuncle-nose inched nearer to Bond, continuing to toss the knife between his hands. Bond stepped in abruptly, his right leg lunging out in a fencing thrust, the foot midway between his antagonist’s feet. At the same moment, Bond tossed his knife from right to left. Then he feinted, as though returning the knife to his right hand as his opponent would have expected.

The moment was there. Bond saw the big man’s eyes move slightly in the direction in which the knife should be travelling. There was a split second when Carbuncle-nose was uncertain. Bond’s left hand rose two inches, then flashed out and down. There was the ringing clash of steel against steel. Carbuncle-nose had been in the act of tossing his knife between hands. Bond’s blade caught the weapon in mid-air, smashing it to the floor. In an automatic reflex, the big man went down, his hand reaching after his knife. Bond’s knife drove upwards.

The big man straightened up very quickly, making a grunting noise. His hand went to his cheek, which Bond’s knife had opened into an ugly red canyon from ear to jaw-line. With another fast, upward strike from Bond, the knife slit the protective hand. This time, Carbuncle-nose gave a roar of mingled pain and anger.

Bond did not want to kill – not in Finland, not in these circumstances. But he could not leave it like this. The big man’s eyes went wide with disbelief and fear as Bond again moved in. The knife flicked up again, twice, leaving a jagged slash on the other cheek and removing an ear lobe.

Two earlobes in two books!


Carbuncle-nose had obviously had enough. He stumbled to one side and made for the door, breath rasping. Bond decided the man had more intelligence than he had originally thought.

The pain returned to Bond’s shoulder and with it a sensation of giddiness. He had no intention of following the would-be assailant, whose stumbling, falling footsteps could be heard on the wooden stairs.

‘James?’ Paula had come back into the room. ‘What shall I do? Call the police, or . . . ?’ She looked frightened, her face drained of colour. Bond thought he probably didn’t look so hot either.

That might be the least Fleming phrase used so far in this thread.


‘No. No, we don’t want the police, Paula.’ He sank into the nearest chair. ‘Close the door, put the chain on, and take a look out of the window.’

Everything seemed to withdraw around him. Surprisingly, he thought vaguely, Paula did as he asked. Usually she argued. You did not normally give orders to girls like Paula.

With clothes on, or...


‘See anything?’ Bond’s own voice sounded far away.

‘There’s a car leaving. Cars parked. I can’t see any people . . .’

The room tilted, then came back into normal focus.

‘. . . James, your shoulder.’ He could smell her beside him. ‘Just tell me what happened, Paula. It’s important. How did they get in? What did they do?’

‘Your shoulder, James.’

He looked at it. The thick material of his British Warm had saved him from serious injury. Even so, the knife had razored through the epaulette, and blood seeped up through the cloth, leaving a dark, wet stain.

‘Tell me what happened,’ Bond repeated.

‘You’re wounded. I have to look at it.’

They compromised and Bond stripped to the waist. A nasty gash ran diagonally across his shoulder where the knife had cut half an inch deep into the fleshy parts. Using disinfectant, hot water, tape, and gauze, Paula cleaned and dressed the wound, telling her story at the same time. Outwardly she was calm, though Bond noticed how her hands shook slightly as she recounted what had happened.

Bond would drop dead of blood loss out of stubbornness.


The two killers had arrived only a couple of minutes before he himself rang the doorbell. ‘I was running a little late,’ she made a vague gesture, indicating the silky robe. ‘Stupid. I didn’t have the chain on, and just thought it was you. Didn’t even look through the spy-hole.’ The intruders had simply forced their way in, pushing her back into the room telling her what to do. They also described, in some detail, what they would do to her if she did not carry out instructions.

Bond considered that under the circumstances she had done the only thing possible. As far as he was concerned, however, there were questions that could be answered only through Service channels, which meant that, much as he might like to stay on in Finland, he must get back to London. For one thing, the very fact that the two men were inside Paula’s apartment only a few minutes before he arrived led him to think they had probably been waiting for his cab to stop in Esplanade Park.

‘Well, thanks for tipping me off at the door,’ Bond said, easing his now taped and dressed shoulder.

Paula gave a little pout. ‘I didn’t mean to tip you off. I was just plain frightened.’

‘Ah, you only acted frightened.’ Bond smiled at her, ‘I can tell when people are really frightened.’

She bent down, kissed him, then gave a little frown. ‘James, I’m still frightened. Scared stiff, if you really want to know. What about that gun, and the way you reacted? I thought you were just a senior civil servant.’

‘I am. Senior and very civil.’ He paused, ready to ask the important questions, but Paula moved across the room to retrieve the automatic pistol, which she nervously handed to him.

The writing in this book is actually pretty solid. It makes me worried about how crazy it can go.


‘Will they come back?’ Paula asked. ‘Am I likely to be attacked again?’

‘Look,’ Bond said, spreading his hands, ‘for some reason a couple of hoodlums were after me. I really don’t know why. Yes, sometimes I do slightly dangerous jobs – hence the weaponry. But there’s no reason I can think of for those two having a go at me here, in Helsinki.’

He went on to say that he might find out the real answer in London and felt that Paula would be quite safe once he was out of the way. It was too late to catch the British Airways flight home that night, which meant waiting for the regular Finnair service, just after nine the next morning.

‘Bang goes our dinner.’ His smile was meant to look apologetic.

Paula said she had food in the house. They could eat there. Her voice had begun to quaver. Bond decided quickly that it would be best to start his questioning on the positive side before he tackled the really big problem: how did the would-be assassins know he was in Helsinki, and – particularly – how did they know he was visiting Paula?

‘Have you got a car near here, Paula?’ he began.

She had a car and a parking space outside.

‘I may well ask a favour of you later.’

‘I hope so.’ She gave him a brave, come-on smile.

‘Okay. Before we get down to that, there are more important things.’ Bond fired the obvious questions at her – rapid shooting, pressing her for fast return answers, not giving her time to avoid anything or think about replies.

Had she ever talked about him to friends, or colleagues, in Finland, since they had first met? Of course. Had she done the same in any other country? Yes. Could she remember the number of people to whom she had talked? She gave some names, obvious ones – close friends and people with whom she worked. Did she have any memory of other people being around when she had spoken about Bond? People she did not know? That was quite possible, but Paula could give no details.

Bond moved on to the most recent events. Had anyone been with her in the office when he had telephoned from the Inter-Continental? No. Was there any way the call could have been overhead? Possibly; someone could have been listening in at the switchboard. Had she spoken to anyone after the call – told anyone that he was in Helsinki, and picking her up at six-thirty? Only one person. ‘I was meeting a girl – a colleague from another department. We’d arranged to discuss some work over dinner.’

This woman’s name was Anni Tudeer, and Bond spent quite a long time getting facts about her. At last he lapsed into silence, stood up, crossed to the window and peered out, holding back the curtain.

Below, it looked bleak and a little sinister, the white frozen sculptures throwing shadows across the layer of frost on the ground. Two small fur bundles scuffed their way along the pavement opposite. There were several cars parked in the street. Two of them would have been ideal for surveillance: the angle at which they were parked gave good sight-lines to the front door. Bond thought he could detect movement in one of them but decided to put it out of his mind until the time came. He returned to his chair.

Oh well, I'm sure she's not involved in this in any way.


‘Is the interrogation over?’ Paula asked.

‘That wasn’t an interrogation.’ Bond took out the familiar gunmetal case, offering her one of his Simmons specials. ‘One day, maybe, I’ll show you an interrogation. Remember I said I may have to ask a favour?’

‘Ask, and it’ll be given.’

There was luggage at the hotel, Bond told her, and he had to get to the airport. Could he stay in her flat until about four in the morning, then drive himself to the hotel in her car, pay the bill and get out ‘clean’, before going on to the airport? ‘I can arrange for your car to be brought back here.’

‘You’re not driving anywhere, James.’ She sounded stubbornly serious. ‘You’ve got a nasty wound in your shoulder. It’s going to need treatment, sooner or later. Yes, you stay here until four in the morning; then I’ll drive you to the hotel and the airport. But why so early? The flight doesn’t leave until after nine. You could make a booking from here.’

Bond is from the dad school of arriving at an airport early.


Once more, Bond reiterated that she wouldn’t really be safe until he was out of her company. ‘If I get to the airport in the early hours you’ll be rid of me. Also, I’ll have the advantage. There are ways of positioning yourself in a place like an airport concourse so that nobody can give you nasty surprises. And I’m not using your telephone for obvious reasons.’

She agreed, but remained adamant that she would do the driving. Paula being Paula, Bond conceded.

‘You’re looking better.’ She gave him a peck on the cheek. ‘Drink?’

‘You know what I fancy.’

She went off into the kitchen and mixed a jug of his favourite martini. It was over three years ago, in London, that he had taught her the recipe – one which, because of certain publications, had become a standard with many people. After the first drink, the throbbing in his shoulder seemed less intense. With the second, Bond felt he was almost back to normal. ‘I love that robe.’ His mind began saying things to his body, and, wound or not, his body answered back.

‘Well,’ she gave a shy smile, ‘to tell you the truth, I’ve already got dinner organised here. I had no intention of going out. I was ready for you when those . . . when those brutes turned up. How’s the shoulder?’

‘Wouldn’t stop me playing chess, or any other indoor sport you might name.’

Competitive debate?


With a single movement she pulled the tie belt, and her robe fell open. ‘You said I knew what you fancy,’ she said lightly, then, ‘that is, if you feel up to it.’

‘Up to it is the way I feel,’ Bond replied.

Or that!


It was almost midnight when they ate. Paula set a table with candles and produced a truly memorable meal: ptarmigan in aspic, glowfried salmon, and a delicious chocolate mousse. Then, at four in the morning, now dressed for the fierce cold of dawn, she allowed Bond to lead the way downstairs.

A true Finnish meal! Along with the ptarmigan, Bond gets salmon cooked by putting it within about a foot of the fire for a long period, traditionally by nailing it to an aromatic plank of wood (you can use a steel cage, but what fun is that?).


With the P7 unholstered, Bond used the shadows to creep into the street and make his way across the road, slick with ice, first to a Volvo, then an Audi. There was a man in the Volvo, asleep, his head back and mouth open, far away in whatever dreams bad surveillance men fall prey to during the night. The Audi was empty.

Bond signalled to Paula, who came, very sure-footed, across the pavement to her car. It started first time, the exhaust sending out thick clouds in the freezing air, and Paula drove with the skill of one used to taking a car through snow and ice for long periods each year. At the hotel, the pick-up and check-out went without a hitch; and there was no tail on them as Paula headed north towards Vantaa.

Driving better than Gardner did, apparently!


Officially Vantaa Airport is not open until seven in the morning, but there are always people about. At five o’clock it had that look you associate with the sour taste of too many cigarettes, constant coffee, and the, tiredness of waiting for night trains, or planes, anywhere in the world.

Bond would not let Paula linger. He assured her that he would ring from London as soon as possible and they kissed goodbye affectionately.

There were people sweeping the main departure concourse where Bond chose his spot. His shoulder was starting to throb again. Several stranded passengers tried to sleep in the deep, comfortable chairs and quite a number of police walked around in pairs, looking for trouble that never materialised.

Promptly at seven the place became alive. Already, Bond had taken up a stance at the Finnair desk, so as to be first in line. There was plenty of room on Finnair’s 831, due out at 9.10.

The snow began to fall around eight o’clock. It had become quite heavy by the time the big DC9–50 growled off the runway at 9.12. Helsinki quickly disappeared in a storm of white confetti, which soon gave way to a towering cloudscape below a brilliant blue sky.

Finnair had a good livery for the DC-9.


At exactly 10.10, London time, the same aircraft flared out over the threshold of Heathrow’s runway 28 Left. The spoilers came in as they dumped lift, the whining Pratt & Whitney turbofans wailed into reverse thrust, and the aircraft’s speed was gradually killed off as the landing was completed.

An hour later, James Bond arrived at the tall building overlooking Regent’s Park which is the Headquarters of the Service. By this time his shoulder throbbed like a misplaced toothache, sweat dripped from his forehead, and he felt sick.

Gats Akimbo
May 28, 2007

Ignoring this post

Icebreaker posted:

‘That wasn’t an interrogation.’ Bond took out the familiar gunmetal case, offering her one of his Simmons specials. ‘One day, maybe, I’ll show you an interrogation.

Well that's not horrifying at all!

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 4: Madeira Cake


‘They were definitely professionals?’ M had already asked the question three times.

‘No doubt on that score,’ Bond answered, just as he had done before, ‘And I stress again, sir, that I was the target.’

M grunted.

They were seated in M’s office on the ninth floor of the building: M, Bond, and M’s Chief-of-Staff, Bill Tanner.

Immediately on entering the building Bond had taken the lift straight up to the ninth floor, where he lurched into the outer office, the domain of M’s neatly efficient PA, Miss Moneypenny.

She looked up and at first smiled with pleasure. ‘James . . .’ she began, then saw Bond totter, and ran from her desk to help him into a chair.

This dumb motherfucker was so preoccupied with sex and dinner that he flew cross-country bleeding out.


‘That’s wonderful, Penny,’ Bond said, dizzy from pain and fatigue. ‘You smell great. All woman.’

‘No, James, all Chanel; while you’re a mixture of sweat, antiseptic and a hint of something, I think, by Patou.’

M was out, at a Joint Intelligence Committee briefing, so within ten minutes, with Miss Moneypenny’s help, Bond was down in the sick bay, being tended by the two permanent nurses. The duty doctor was already on the way.

Paula had been right: the wound needed attention, antibiotics as well as stitches. By three in the afternoon, Bond was feeling a good deal better, well enough to be taken back for an interrogation by M and the Chief-of- Staff.

It's good to see that Gardner is keeping up Fleming's characterization of Bond being a moron.


M never used strong language, but his look now was of a man ready to give way to the temptation. ‘Tell me about the girl again. This Vacker woman.’ He leaned across the desk, loading his pipe by feel alone, the grey eyes hard – as though Bond was not to be trusted.

Bond painstakingly went through everything he knew about Paula. ‘And the friend? The one she mentioned?’

‘Anni Tudeer. Works for the same agency; similar grade to Paula. They’re apparently co-operating on a special account at the moment, promoting a chemical research organisation based up in Kemi. In the North, but this side of the Circle.’

‘I know where Kemi is,’ M almost snarled. ‘You have to land there en route to Rovaniemi and all places north.’ He inclined his head towards Tanner. ‘Chief-of-Staff, would you run the names through the computers for me? See if we have anything. You can even go hat in hand to Five: ask them if there’s anything on their books.’

Bill Tanner gave a deferential nod and left the office.

Once the door was closed, M leaned back in his chair. ‘So, what’s your personal assessment, 007?’ The grey eyes glittered, and Bond thought to himself that M probably had the truth already locked away in his head, together with a thousand other secrets.

Bond is pretty sure he got marked either during the training exercise or after he got back to Helsinki. His decision to go there was completely random, which means they must have people watching him who scrambled to catch up and probably bugged his hotel phone. They're definitely not Russian with how terrible their accents were, and Paula said their accents weren't Finnish either. Could be hired local hitmen.


‘But why the hiring, then?’ M sat quite still, his voice calm.

‘I don’t make friends easily.’

‘Without the frivolity, 007.’

‘Well.’ Bond sighed. ‘I suppose it could have been a contract. Remnants of SPECTRE. Certainly not KGB – or unlikely. Could be one of a dozen half-baked groups.’

‘Would you call the National Socialist Action Army a half-baked group?’

‘Not their style, sir. They go for Communist targets – the big bang, complete with publicity handouts.’

M allowed himself a thin smile. ‘They could be using an agency, couldn’t they, 007? An advertising agency, like the one your Ms Vacker works for.’

‘Sir.’ Flat, as though M had become crazed.

What? It's not like you weren't accidentally loving Blofeld herself last year!


‘No, Bond. Not their style, unless they wanted the quick termination of someone they saw as a threat.’

‘But I’m not . . .’

‘They weren’t to know that. They weren’t to know you had stopped off in Helsinki for some playboy nonsense – a role which becomes increasing tiresome, 007. You were instructed to get straight back to London when the exercise in the Arctic was completed, were you not?

‘Nobody was insisting on it. I thought . . .’

‘Don’t care a jot what you thought, 007. We wanted you back here. Instead you go gadding around Helsinki. May have compromised the Service, and yourself.’

‘I . . .’

‘You weren’t to know.’ M appeared to have softened a little. ‘After all, I simply sent you off to do a cold weather exercise, an acclimatisation. I take the responsibility. Should’ve been more explicit.’


M remained silent for a full minute. Above him, Robert Taylor’s original ‘Trafalgar’ set the whole tone of M’s determination and character. That painting had lasted two years. Before, there had been Cooper’s ‘Cape St Vincent’, on loan from the National Maritime Museum, and before that . . . Bond could not recall, but they were always paintings of Britain’s naval victories. M was the possessor of that essential arrogance which put allegiance to country first, and a firm belief in the invincibility of Britain’s fighting forces, no matter what the odds, or how long it took.

loving up Argentina will do that to your ego.


At last M spoke. ‘We have an operation of some importance going on in the Arctic Circle at this moment, 007. The exercise was a warm-up – if I dare use that expression. A warm-up for you. To put it in a nutshell, you are to join that operation.’

‘Against?’ Bond expected the answer.

‘The National Socialist Action Army.’

‘In Finland?’

‘Close to the Russian border.’ M hunched himself even further forward, like a man anxious not to be overheard. ‘We already have a man there – or I should say we had a man there. He’s on his way back. No need to go into details just now. Personality clashes with our allies, mainly. The whole team’s coming out to regroup, and meet you, put you in the picture. You get a briefing from me first, of course.’

‘The whole team being?’

‘Being strange bedfellows, 007. Strange bedfellows. And now we may have lost some tactical surprise, I fear, by your dalliance in Helsinki. We had hoped you’d go in unnoticed. Join the team without tipping off these neo-Fascists.’

‘The team?’ Bond repeated.

M coughed, playing for time. ‘A joint operation, 007; an unusual operation, set up at the request of the Soviet Union.’

Bond frowned. ‘We’re playing with Moscow Centre?’

"I've never done that before in my life!"


M gave a curt nod. ‘Yes’ – as though he also disapproved. ‘And not only Moscow Centre. We’re also involved with Langley and Tel Aviv.’

Bond gave a low whistle, which brought raised eyebrows and a tightening of M’s lips. ‘I said strange bedfellows, 007.’

Bond muttered, as though he could hardly believe it, ‘Ourselves, the KGB, CIA, and Mossad – the Israelis.’

Yes, M knows who Mossad is.


‘Precisely.’ Now that the cat was out of the bag, M warmed to his subject. ‘Operation Icebreaker. The Americans named it, of course. The Soviets went along with it because they were the supplicants . . .’

‘The KGB asked for co-operation?’ Bond still sounded incredulous.

Instead of just pretending nothing is wrong and executing a bunch of people?


‘Through secret channels, yes. When we first heard the news, the few of us in the know were dubious. Then I had an invitation to step over to Grosvenor Square.’

‘And they’d been asked?’

‘Yes, and naturally, being the Company, they knew Mossad had been asked too. Within a day we had arranged a tripartite conference.’

I'm sure you'll all get along!


Bond gestured, asking wordlessly if he could smoke. M went on speaking, giving a tiny motion of his hand as permission, pausing only now and again to light and relight his pipe. ‘We looked at it from all sides. Searched for the traps – and there are some, of course – examined the options if it went sour, then decided to nominate field officers. We wanted at least three each. Soviets heel-tapped on three: too many, the need to contain, and all that kind of thing. Finally we met the KGB’s negotiator, Anatoli Pavlovich Grinev . . .’

Bond nodded, knowingly. ‘Colonel of the First Directorate, Third Department. With cover as First Secretary, Trade, in KPG.’

‘Got him,’ said M. KPG meant Kensington Palace Gardens and, more specifically, Number 13 – the Russian Embassy. The Third Department of the KGB’s First Directorate dealt entirely with intelligence operations concerning the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. ‘Got him. Little fellow, Toby jug ears.’ That was a good description of the wily Colonel Grinev. Bond had dealt with the gentleman before and trusted him as he would trust a faulty land mine.

Oh yeah, this book is going to add a lot of characters.


‘And he explained?’ Bond was not really asking. ‘Explained why the KGB would want ourselves, the CIA and Mossad, to combine in a covert op. on Finnish territory? Surely they’re on good enough terms with SUPO to deal direct?’ SUPO was Finnish Intelligence.

‘Not quite,’ M replied. ‘You’ve read everything we have on the NSAA, 007?’

Bond nodded, adding, ‘What precious little there is – the detailed reports of their thirty-odd assassination successes. There’s not much more than that . . .’

‘There’s the Joint Intelligence Analysis. You’ve studied those fifty pages, I trust?’

Bond said he had read them. ‘They elevate the National Socialist Action Army from a small fanatical terrorist organisation to something more sinister. I’m not certain the conclusions are correct.’

‘Really?’ M sniffed. ‘Well, I am certain, 007. The NSAA are fanatics, but the leading intelligence communities, and security arms, are in agreement: the NSAA are led, and nurtured, on old Nazi principles. They mean what they say; and it seems as though they’re pulling more people into the net every day. The indications are that their leaders see themselves as the architects of the Fourth Reich. The target, at present, is organised Communism. But two other elements have recently appeared.’

80s Nazis


‘Which are?’

‘Recent outbreaks of anti-semitism throughout Europe and the United States . . .’

‘There’s no proved connection . . .’

Don't be such a Proud Boy, Bond.


M silenced him with a hand raised. ‘. . . And, secondly, we have one of them in the bag.’

‘A member of the NSAA? Nobody’s . . .’

‘Announced it, or spoken, no. Under wraps tighter than a mummy’s shroud.’

Bond asked if M’s statement that ‘we’ had one meant literally the United Kingdom.

‘Oh yes. He’s here, in this very building. In the guest wing.’ M made a single stabbing downward motion, to indicate the large interrogation centre in the basement. The Headquarters had been redesigned when government defence cuts had denied the Service its ‘place in the country’, where interrogations used to take place.

That big condo-looking building in the back there is Century House, the headquarters of MI6 from 1964 to 1994. While MI6 officially did not exist until 1994 (when it was first legally acknowledged as being a thing) and its headquarters were supposed to be highly classified, everyone knew that they existed and exactly what their address was. The building was terribly insecure: mostly made of glass, with a gas station at the base, and filled with pedestrian walkways, public parking, and lots of hiding places outside. Being situated on a main road, just about everyone figured out that the new tenants were spies after they moved in and it became a running joke. When the lease was up, they had a new headquarters built (which we'll see in the Brosnan works) and the old building was turned into an apartment complex.


M continued, saying they had taken the man concerned ‘after the last bit of business in London’, which referred to the slaughter six months ago, in broad daylight, of three British Civil Servants who had just left the Soviet Embassy after some trade discussions. One of the assassins had tried to shoot himself as members of the SPG closed in.

‘His aim was off.’ M smiled without humour. ‘We saw to it that he lived. Most of what we know is built around what he’s told us.’

‘He’s talked?’

He has enough face left for that?


‘Precious little.’ M shrugged. ‘But what he has said allows us to read between the lines. Very few people know about any of it, 007. I’m only telling you this much so that you won’t doubt we’re on the right track. We are 80 per cent certain that the NSAA is global, growing and, if not stopped at this stage, will eventually lead to an open movement, one which might become tempting to the electorates of many democracies. The Soviets have a vested interest, of course.’

‘Why go along with them, then?’

‘Because no intelligence service, from the Bundesnachrichtendienst to the SDECE, has come up with any other clues . . .’

‘So . . . ?’

‘Nobody, that is, except the KGB.’

Bond did not move a muscle.

‘They don’t know what we’ve got, naturally,’ M continued. ‘But they’ve provided a clue of some magnitude. The NSAA armourer.’

Bond inclined his head. ‘They’ve always used Russian stuff, so I presume . . .’

‘Presume nothing, 007, that’s one of the first rules of strategy. The KGB have persuasive evidence that the NSAA’s equipment is cunningly stolen within the Soviet Union and shipped out, probably by a Finnish national, to various pick-up points. That’s the reason they wanted it clandestine: without knowledge of the Finnish government.’

If they had waited 10 years, they would have had plenty of Russian officers selling the poo poo right to them!


‘And why us?’ Bond was beginning to see light.

‘They say’, M began, ‘it’s because there has to be back-up from countries other than the Eastern bloc. The Israelis are pretty obvious, because Israel could be the next target. Britain and America would present a formidable front to the world if they were seen to be involved. They also say that it is in our common interest to share.’

Israel, famously a bastion of communism.


‘You believe them, sir?’

M gave a bland, unsmiling look. ‘No. Not altogether; but I don’t think it’s meant to be anything sinister, like some complicated entrapment of three intelligence services.’

‘And how long’s Operation Icebreaker been running?’

‘Six weeks. They asked for you particularly at the outset, but I wanted to test the ice, if you see what I mean.’

‘And it’s firm?’

‘It’ll carry your weight, 007. Or I think it will. After what happened in Helsinki, of course, there is a new danger.’

There was silence for a full minute. Far away, behind the heavy door, a telephone rang.

‘The man you put in . . . ?’ Bond broke the silence.

‘Two men, really. Each organisation has a resident director holed up in Helsinki. It’s the field man we’re pulling out. Dudley. Clifford Arthur Dudley. Resident in Stockholm for some time.’

‘Good man.’ Bond lit another cigarette. ‘I’ve worked with him.’ Indeed, they had done a complicated surveillance and character assassination on a Romanian diplomat in Paris a couple of years before. ‘Very nimble,’ Bond added. ‘Good all-rounder. You say there was a personality clash . . . ?’

M did not look at Bond directly. He rose and walked over to the window, clasping his hands behind his back as he gazed down across Regent’s Park. ‘Yes,’ he said slowly. ‘Yes. Punched our American ally in the mouth.’

Well why the hell did he do that?


‘Cliff Dudley?’

M turned. He wore his sly look. ‘Oh, he did it on my instructions. Playing for time, like I said, testing the ice – and waiting for you to get acclimatised, if you follow.’


M no


Again a silence, broken by Bond. ‘And I’m to join the team.’

‘Yes.’ M seemed to have gone a little absent-minded. ‘Yes, yes. They’ve all pulled out. You’re to meet them as soon as possible. I’ve chosen the rendezvous, incidentally. How do you fancy Reid’s Hotel in Funchal, Madeira?’

‘Better than a Lapp kota in the Arctic Circle, sir.’

‘Good. Then we’ll give you a full briefing here, and if you’re up to it, we’ll speed you on your way tomorrow night. I’m afraid the Arctic’ll be your next stop after Madeira, though. Now, there’s a lot of work to be done. You must realise this thing’s not going to be a piece of cake, as they used to say in World War Two.’

‘Not even Madeira cake?’ asked Bond.

M actually gave a short laugh.

Ichabod Sexbeast
Dec 5, 2011

Giving 'em the old razzle-dazzle

chitoryu12 posted:

Israel, famously a bastion of communism.

In all fairness, I can think of a reason or two Israel might not get along with Nazis

Doesn't slow Netanyahu's love for Orban and pals, mind, but still

Yond Cassius
May 22, 2010

horny is prohibited

Tanya Roberts (Stacey Sutton from A View to a Kill) has passed.

Feb 21, 2010

John "Black Jack" Pershing
Hard Fucking Core

What a twist!

Yond Cassius
May 22, 2010

horny is prohibited

e: and, sadly, for real this time (or so reported).

Yond Cassius fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Jan 5, 2021

Apr 23, 2014

A death truly appropriate for a Bond character.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 5: Rendezvous at Reid's


In the event, Bond did not get away from London as quickly as expected. There was much to be prepared, and the doctors also insisted on a complete check-up. Then, too, Bill Tanner appeared with the trace results on Paula Vacker and her friend, Anni Tudeer.

There were a couple of interesting, and troubling, pieces of information. As it turned out, Paula was of Swedish birth, though she had assumed Finnish citizenship. Apparently her father had at one time been with the Swedish Diplomatic Corps, though a note listed him as having ‘militant right-wing tendencies’.

‘Probably means the man’s a Nazi,’ M grunted.

This feels familiar to recent events...


The thought worried Bond, but Bill Tanner’s next words disturbed him even more.

‘Maybe,’ the Chief-of-Staff said, ‘but her girlfriend’s father certainly is, or was, a Nazi.’

What Tanner had to say made Bond yearn for an opportunity to see Paula again quickly, and, more particularly, to meet Anni Tudeer.

The computers had little on the girl, but they disgorged a great deal about her father, a former high-ranking officer in the Finnish Army. Colonel Aarne Tudeer had been, in fact, a member of Finland’s C-in-C’s – the great Marshal Mannerheim’s – staff in 1943, and, in the same year, when the Finns fought side by side with the German Army against the Russians, Tudeer had accepted a post with the Waffen SS. Though Tudeer was a soldier first, it remained clear that his admiration for Nazi Germany, and, in particular, for Adolf Hitler, knew no bounds. By the end of 1943 Aarne Tudeer had been promoted to the rank of SS-Oberführer and moved to a post within the Nazi fatherland.

When the war ended, Tudeer disappeared, but there were definite indications that he remained alive. The Nazi-catchers still had him on the wanted list, for among the many operations in which he played a prominent part was the ‘execution’ of fifty prisoners of war, recaptured after the famous ‘Great Escape’ from Stalag Luft III, at Sagan in March 1944.

The real "Great Escape" occurred on the night of March 24, 1944. A year of planning led to the theft of thousands of camp items (including entire bunk beds) and the digging of three tunnels, Tom, Dick, and Harry, leading out from several barracks to outside the camp. Only Harry was used, as Tom was found by the Germans and the area for Dick to come out (silence) was chosen as the spot for more camp expansion. The tiny tunnel, only 2 feet square, was discovered after 76 POWs managed to make it out.

Despite having uniforms modified to resemble civilian clothing, 73 of the escapees were recaptured. Adolf Hitler demanded an example be made, and so Himmler had 50 of them executed. While the Germans tried to claim that they were shot during the escape, the British knew better and had it investigated as a war crime. Combing through their meticulous bookkeeping of their war crimes and getting many confessions, many of those charged were executed or died in prison. However, several of them were never found or even fully identified. It's historically completely plausible for Aarne Tudeer to be a fictional addition to that group.


Later, Tudeer fought bravely during the historic, bloody march of the 2nd SS Panzer Division (‘Das Reich’) from Montauban to Normandy. It is well-known that, during those two weeks in June 1944, acts of unbridled horror were committed which defied the normal rules of war. One was the burning of 642 men, women, and children in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. Aarne Tudeer had more than a hand in that particular episode.

‘A soldier first, yes,’ Tanner explained, ‘but the man is a war criminal and as such, even though he’s an old-age pensioner now, the Nazi-hunters are still after him. There were confirmed sightings in South America during the 1950s, but it’s pretty certain he came back to Europe in the 1960s after a successful identity change.’

Bond filed the information in his head, asking for the chance to study any existing documents and photographs.

‘There’s no chance of me slipping back into Helsinki, seeing Paula and meeting the Tudeer woman, I suppose?’ Bond looked hard at M, who shook his head.

Not now, Bond!


‘Sorry, 007. Time is of the essence. The whole team’s come out of its operational zone for two reasons – first, to meet and brief you; second, to plan what they reckon’s going to be the final stage in their mission. You see, they think they know where the arms are coming from, how they’re being passed on to the NSAA, and – most important – who is directing all NSAA ops, and from where.’

M refilled his pipe, settled back in his chair and began to talk. In many ways, what he revealed was enough to make Bond’s hair stand on end.

They stayed at HQ until late that night, after which Bond was driven back to his Chelsea flat and the tender mercies of May, his redoubtable housekeeper, who took one look at him and ordered him straight to bed in the tones of an old-fashioned nanny. ‘You look washed out, Mr James. To bed with you. I’ll bring you a nice light supper on a tray. Now, away to your bed.’

How dare you not even type out her Scottish accent.


Bond did not feel like arguing. May appeared soon afterwards with a dish of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which Bond ate while he looked through the pile of mail that had been waiting for him. He had scarcely finished the meal before fatigue took over and, without a struggle, he dropped into a deep refreshing sleep.

When he woke, Bond knew that May had allowed him to sleep late. The numbers on his digital bedside clock showed that it was almost ten. Within seconds he was calling for May to get breakfast. A few minutes later the telephone rang.

M was shouting for him.

Not even seven? M is slipping.


The extra time spent in London paid dividends. Not only was Bond given a thorough rundown on his partners for Operation Icebreaker but he also had an opportunity to talk at length with Cliff Dudley, the officer from whom he was taking over.

Dudley was a short, hard, pugnacious Scot, a man whom Bond both liked and respected. ‘If I’d had more time,’ Dudley told him, ‘likely I’d have sniffed out the whole truth. But it was really you they wanted. M made that clear to me before I went. Mind you, James, you’ll have to keep your back to the wall. None of the others’ll look out for you. Moscow Centre are definitely on to something, but it all stinks of duplicity. Maybe I’m just suspicious by nature, but their boy’s holding something back. He’s got a dozen aces up his sleeve, and all in the same suit, I’ll bet you.’

‘Their boy’, as Dudley called him, was not unknown to Bond, at least by reputation. Nicolai Mosolov had plenty of reputation, none of it particularly appetising. Known to his friends within the KGB as Kolya, Mosolov spoke English, American-English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Spanish and Finnish fluently. Now in his late thirties, the man had been a star pupil at the basic training school near Novosibirsk, and worked for some time with the expert Technical Support Group of his Service’s Second Chief Directorate, which is, in effect, a professional burglary unit.

In the building overlooking Regent’s Park they also knew Mosolov under a number of aliases. In the United States he was Nicholas S. Mosterlane, Sven Flanders in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. They knew, but had never nailed him – not even as Nicholas Mortin-Smith in London.

‘Invisible man type,’ M said. ‘Chameleon. Merges with his background and disappears just when you think he’s bottled up.’

Well, I'm sure the American will be fine.


Bond was no happier about his American counterpart on Icebreaker. Brad Tirpitz, known in intelligence circles as ‘Bad’ Brad, was a veteran of the old-school CIA and had survived the multitude of purges in his organisation’s headquarters at Langley, Virginia. To some, Tirpitz was a kind of swashbuckling, do-or-die, hero: a legend. There were others, however, who saw him in a different light – as the sort of field officer capable of using highly questionable methods, a man who considered that the end always justified the means. And the means could be, as one of his colleagues put it, ‘Pretty mean. He has the instinct of a hungry wolf, and the heart of a scorpion.’

Bad Brad?


So, Bond thought, his future lay with a Moscow Centre heavy and a Langley sharp-shooter who tended to shoot first and ask questions later.

The rest of the briefing, and the medical, took the remainder of that day, and some of the following morning. So it was not until the afternoon of this third day that Bond boarded the two o’clock TAP flight to Lisbon, connecting with one of the Boeing 727 shuttles to Funchal.

The sun was low, almost touching the water, throwing great warm red blotches of colour against the rocks, when Bond’s aircraft – now down to around 600 feet – crossed the Ponta de São Lourenço headland to make that exhilarating low-level turn which is the only way to get into the precarious little runway – perched, like an aircraft carrier’s flight deck, among the rocks – at Funchal.

While Gardner tried to have text that set aside his Bond as a continuation of Fleming's idea, the incredibly rapid setting changes make it clear how much the films are influencing him. Fleming's transitions were much more elegant, often with rumination on air travel and death if he couldn't avoid the trip through a chapter transition. Every book I read here gives me a greater appreciation for what Ian Fleming, a man who had never published a novel in his life before Bond, could do with the written word at the top of his game.


Within the hour a taxi deposited him at Reid’s Hotel, and the following morning found him searching for either Mosolov, Tirpitz, or the third member of the Icebreaker group – the Mossad agent whom Dudley had described as, ‘An absolutely deadly young lady, around five-six, clear skin, the figure’s copied from the Venus de Milo, only this one’s got both arms, and the head’s different.’

‘How different?’ Bond had asked.

‘Stunning. Late twenties, I’d say. Very, very good. I’d hate to be up against her . . .’

‘In the professional sense, of course.’ Bond could not resist the quip.

Of course you couldn't, Roger Moore.


As far as M was concerned, the Israeli agent was an unknown quantity. The name was Rivke Ingber. The file said ‘Nothing known’.

So now James Bond looked out over the hotel’s twin swimming pools, his eyes shaded by sunglasses, as he searched faces and bodies.

For a moment his gaze fell on a tall, arresting blonde, in a Cardin bikini, whose body defied normal description. Well, Bond thought as the girl plunged into the warm water, there’s no law against looking. He shifted his body on the sun lounger, wincing slightly at the ache in his now rapidly healing shoulder, and continued to watch the girl swimming, her lovely long legs opening and closing while her arms moved lazily in an act of almost conscious sensuality.

Even before the "Hot IDF women" meme, the Israeli agent is a beautiful blonde.


Bond smiled once more at M’s choice for the rendezvous. Reid’s remains one of the few hotels, among the package tour traps which run from Gran Canaria to Corfu, which has maintained standards – of cuisine and service – dating back to the 1930s. The hotel shop sells reminders of the old days – photographs of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill taken in the lush gardens. Lath-straight elderly men, with clipped moustaches, sit reading in the airy public rooms; young couples, dressed by YSL and Kenzo, rub shoulders with elderly titled ladies on the famous tea terrace. He was, Bond considered, in ‘the Butler Did It’ territory; undoubtedly M’s cronies came to this idyllic time warp with the regularity of a Patek Philippe wristwatch.

What is now the Belmond Reid's Palace was opened in 1891, after the death of William Reid himself. It's the quintessential fancy British hotel in Portugal, where celebrities and politicians have stayed for over a hundred years when visiting Madeira.


As he lay there, Bond covered the pool and sunbathing area with carefully regulated sweeps of the eye. No sign of Mosolov. No sign of Tirpitz. He could recognise those two easily enough from the photographs studied in London. There had been no photograph of Rivke Ingber, and Cliff Dudley had merely smiled knowingly, telling Bond he would find out what she looked like soon enough.

We already did.


People were now drifting towards the pool restaurant, open on two sides and protected by pink stone arches. Tables were laid, waiters hovered, a bar beckoned, and a long buffet had been set up to provide every conceivable kind of salad and cold meats, or – if the client so fancied – hot soup, quiche, lasagne or cannelloni.

Lunch. Bond’s old habits followed him faithfully to Madeira. The warm air and sun of the morning watch now produced that pleasant need for something light at lunch-time. Putting on a towelling robe, Bond padded to the buffet, selected some thin slices of ham, and began to choose from the array of colourful salads.

‘Don’t you fancy a drink, Mr Bond? To break the ice?’ Her voice was soft and unaccented.

‘Miss Ingber?’ Bond did not turn to look at her.

‘Yes, I’ve been watching you for some time – and I think you me. Shall we have lunch together? The others have also arrived.’

Bond turned. It was the spectacular blonde he had seen in the pool. She had changed into a dry black bikini, and the visible flesh glowed bronze, the colour of autumn beech leaves. The contrast of colours – skin, the thin black material and the striking, gold curls cut close – made Rivke Ingber look not only acutely desirable, but also an object lesson in health and body care. Her face shone with fitness, unblemished, classical, almost Nordic – with a strong mouth and dark eyes in which a spirit of humour seemed to dance almost seductively.

‘Well,’ Bond admitted, ‘you’ve outflanked me, Ms Ingber. Shalom.’

And now it's cringey.


Shalom, Mr Bond . . .’ The pink mouth curved into a smile which appeared open, inviting and completely genuine.

‘Call me James.’ Bond made a small mental note of the smile.

She was already holding a plate carrying a small portion of chicken breast, some sliced tomatoes, and a salad of rice and apples. Bond gestured towards one of the nearby tables. She walked ahead of him, her body supple, the slight swing of her hips almost wanton. Carefully placing her plate on the table, Rivke Ingber automatically gave her bikini pants a tiny hitch, then ran her thumbs inside the rear of the legs, setting them over her high, neat buttocks. It was a gesture, performed naturally and without thought countless times each day by women on beaches and around swimming pools; but, executed by Rivke Ingber, the movement became a tantalising, overtly sexual invitation.

Do not, Mr. Bond.


Now, sitting opposite Bond, she gave her smile again, running the tip of her small tongue across her upper lip. ‘Welcome aboard, James. I’ve wanted to work with you for a long time –’ a slight pause – ‘which is more than I can say about our colleagues.’

Bond looked at her, trying to penetrate the dark eyes – an unusual feature in a woman of Rivke’s colouring. His fork was poised between plate and mouth as he asked, ‘That bad?’[/quote[

Her colouring? Do you not know white girls with brown eyes?

[quote]‘Worse than that,’ she said. ‘I suppose you were told why your predecessor left us?’

‘No.’ Bond gazed at her innocently. ‘All I know is that I was suddenly whisked on to this, with little time for briefings. They said the team – which seems a pretty odd mix to me – would give me the detailed story.’

She laughed again. ‘There was what you might call a personality clash. Brad Tirpitz was being his usual boorish self, at my expense. Your man belted him in the mouth. I was a little put out. I mean, I could have dealt with Tirpitz myself.’

The baddest of Brads.


Bond took the mouthful of food, chewed and swallowed, then asked about the operation.

Rivke gave him a little flirtatious look, from under slightly lowered eyelids. ‘Oh,’ a finger mockingly to her lips, ‘that’s a no-no. Bait – that’s what I am. I’m to lure you in to the pair of experts. We all have to be present at your briefing. To tell you the truth, I don’t think they take me very seriously.’

"We've actually regressed from the 1950s creator of this series."


Bond smiled grimly. ‘Then they’ve never heard the most important saying about your service . . .’

‘We are good at our task because the alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.’ She spoke the words on a flat note, almost parrot-like.

The horrifying alternative of not owning the Gaza Strip.


‘And are you good, Rivke Ingber?’ Bond chewed another mouthful.

‘Can a bird fly?’

‘Our colleagues must be very stupid, then.’

She sighed. ‘Not stupid, James. Chauvinists. They’re not noted for their confidence in working with women, that’s all.’

Bond currently has decades of getting owned if he does that.


‘Never had that trouble myself.’ Bond’s face remained blank.

‘No. So I’ve heard.’ Rivke suddenly sounded prim. Maybe it was even a ‘keep off’ sign.

‘So. We don’t talk about Icebreaker.’

She shook her head. ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get enough of that when we go up to see the boys.’

Bond detected a hint of warning even in the way she looked at him. It was as though the possibility of friendship had been offered, then suddenly withdrawn. Just as quickly, Rivke became her old self, the dark eyes locking on to Bond’s.

They finished their light meal without Bond attempting to touch on the subject of Icebreaker again. He talked about her country – which he knew well – and of its many problems, but did not try to advance the conversation into her private life.

‘Time to meet the big boys, James.’ She dabbed at her lips with a napkin, her eyes darting up towards the hotel.

Mosolov and Tirpitz had probably been watching them from their balcony, Rivke said. They had rooms next to each other on the fourth floor, with both balconies giving good views of the gardens, and sight-lines which allowed constant surveillance of the swimming pool area.

Man, even getting rooms immediately next to each other and hanging out together!


They went off to separate changing rooms, emerging in suitable clothes: Rivke in a dark pleated skirt and white shirt; Bond in his favourite navy slacks, a Sea Island cotton shirt, and moccasins. Together, they entered the hotel and took the elevator to the fourth floor.

‘Ah, Mr James Bond.’

Mosolov was as nondescript as the experts maintained. He could have been any age – from mid-twenties to late forties.

‘Kolya Mosolov,’ he said, taking Bond’s hand. The handshake was neither one thing nor the other, and the eyes – a clouded grey – looked dull, not meeting Bond’s gaze with any certainty.

‘Glad to be working with you.’ Bond gave his most charming smile, while taking in what he could of the man – on the short side, blond hair cut with no style, but paradoxically neat. No character – or so it would seem – in either the man or his clothes: a short-sleeved brown check shirt, and slacks that looked as though they had been run up by an apprentice tailor on a particularly bad day, a face that appeared to change with moods, and in different lights, aging or shedding years.

Kolya indicated a chair, though Bond did not quite see how he did it – without gestures, or moving his body. ‘Do you know Brad Tirpitz?’ His English seemed flawless, even colloquial, with the slight hint of a London suburban accent.

The chair contained Tirpitz – a sprawled, large man with big, rough hands and a face chiselled, it appeared, out of granite. His hair was grey and cut short, almost to the scalp, and Bond was pleased to note the traces of bruising and a slight cut around the left side of the man’s unusually small mouth.

He's so bad.


Tirpitz lazily lifted a hand in a kind of salutation. ‘Hi,’ he grunted, the voice harsh, as though he had spent a lot of time getting his accent from tough-guy movies. ‘Welcome to the club, Jim.’



Bond could detect no glimmer of welcome or pleasure in the man.

‘Glad to meet you, Mr Tirpitz.’ Bond paused on the Mister.

‘Brad,’ Tirpitz growled back. This time there was the hint of a smile around the corners of his mouth. Bond nodded.

‘You know what this is all about?’ Kolya Mosolov seemed to assume an almost apologetic mood.

‘Only a little . . .’

Rivke stepped in, smiling at Bond. ‘James tells me he was sent out here on short notice. No briefing from his people.’

Mosolov shrugged, sat down and indicated one of the other chairs. Rivke dropped on to the bed, curling her legs under her as though settling in.

Bond took the proffered chair, pushing it back against the wall into a position from which he could see the other three. It also gave him a good view of the window and balcony.

Mosolov took a deep breath. ‘We haven’t much time,’ he began. ‘We need to be out of here within forty-eight hours and back into the operational area.’

Bond gestured at the room. ‘Is it quite safe to talk in here?’

Tirpitz gave a gruff laugh. ‘Don’t worry about it. We checked the place over. My room’s next door; this one’s on the corner of the building; and I sweep the place all the time.’



Bond turned back to Mosolov, who had waited patiently, almost subserviently, during the slight interruption. The Russian waited a second more before speaking: ‘Do you think this strange? The CIA, Mossad, my people, and your people all working together?’

‘Initially.’ Bond appeared to relax. This was the moment M had warned him about. There was a possibility that Mosolov would hold certain matters back. If so, then he needed every ounce of extra caution. ‘Initially I thought it strange, but, on reflection . . . well, we’re all in the same business. Different outlooks, possibly, but no reason why we shouldn’t work together for the common good.’

‘Correct,’ Mosolov said curtly. ‘Then I’ll give you the information in outline.’ He paused, looked around him, giving a credible imitation of a near-sighted and somewhat vague academic. ‘Rivke. Brad. Please add any points that you think I have omitted.’

Rivke nodded and Tirpitz laughed unpleasantly.

‘All right.’ The transmogrification trick again: Kolya changed from the slow professor into the sharp executive; decisive, in control. He was a joy to watch, Bond thought. ‘All right. I’ll give it to you quickly and straight. This – as you probably do know, Mr Bond – concerns the National Socialist Action Army: a proven threat to my country and to your countries too. Fascists in the old mould.’

Tirpitz gave his unpleasant laugh again. ‘Mouldy old Fascists.’

Yes, we're quite familiar with them here.


Mosolov ignored him. It appeared to be the only way to deal with Brad Tirpitz’s wisecracks. ‘I am not a fanatic.’ Mosolov dropped his voice. ‘Nor am I obsessed by the NSAA. However, like your governments, I believe this organisation to be large and growing every day. It is a threat . . .’

‘You can say that again.’ Brad Tirpitz took out a pack of Camels, thumped the end against his thumb, extracted a cigarette and lit it, using a book match. ‘Let’s cut through it, Kolya. The National Socialist Action Army’s got you Soviets scared shitless.’

For all their fame, existing since 1913, this is actually the first appearance of Camels in the franchise! Camels were one of many brands introduced as effectively knockoffs of Egyptian cigarettes, which had a reputation for extremely high quality. They became infamous in the 1950s for their "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette" advertising campaign that has since aged like fine milk. The cigarettes would have been recently on Gardner's radar, as the 1980 book Still Life with Woodpecker had its cover art designed as a pastiche of a Camel pack.


‘A threat’, Kolya continued, ‘to the world. Not just to Soviet Russia and the Eastern bloc.’

‘You’re their main target,’ Tirpitz grunted.

‘And we’re implicated, Brad, as you know. That’s why my government approached your people. And Rivke’s and Mr Bond’s governments.’ He turned back to Bond. ‘As you may, or may not, know, all the arms used in operations carried out by the NSAA come from a Soviet source. The Central Committee were informed of this only after the fifth incident. Other governments and agencies suspected we were supplying arms to some organisation – possibly Middle Eastern – which was, in turn, passing them on. This was not so. The information solved a problem for us.’

‘Someone had his fingers in the till,’ Brad Tirpitz interjected.

‘True,’ Mosolov snapped. ‘Last spring, during a spot inspection of stores – the first for two years – a senior officer of the Red Army discovered a huge discrepancy: an inexplicable loss of armaments. All from one source.’

He rose, walked across the room to a briefcase and took out a large map, which he spread on the carpet.

‘Here.’ His finger pointed at the paper. ‘Here, near Alakurtii, we have a large ordnance depot . . .’

Alakurtii lay some sixty kilometres east of the Finnish border, well into the Arctic Circle – about two hundred-plus kilometres north-east of Rovaniemi, where Bond had based himself during his recent expedition.

At this time, Finland was officially neutral in the Cold War and a member of the United Nations. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 stated that Finland was obligated to resist attacks by "Germany or its allies" either against Finland or against the Soviet Union by going through Finland, and that was about it. While Finland didn't support the West (other than some secret cooperation) to avoid getting the Soviets riled up, they never joined the Warsaw Pact or switched to a communist economy. This allowed them to economically grow over the Cold War and create an extensive welfare state, while intelligence agencies from both sides turned the neutral zone into their playground.


Kolya continued. ‘During last winter that particular ordnance depot was raided. We were able to identify all the serial numbers of weapons used by the NSAA. They definitely came from Alakurtii.’

Bond asked what was missing.

Kolya’s face went deadpan as he rattled off a list: ‘Kalashnikovs; RPKs; AKs; AKMs; Makarov and Stetchkin pistols; RDG-5 and RG-42 grenades . . . A large number, with ammunition.’

The RGD-5 and RG-42 are both fragmentation grenades of different eras. The former is a "modern" grenade that remains in heavy use around the world, including many copies, while the latter is a World War II emergency design to create the cheapest and simplest grenade possible. In the early 1980s, the RG-42 is out of service and only remains in stock as an emergency reserve or for foreign aid and sales. They would remain in use until at least a year ago in a few places, but their age means the TNT would be starting to degrade.


‘Nothing heavier than that?’ Bond made it sound casual, an off-the-cuff response.

Mosolov shook his head. ‘It’s enough. They disappeared in great quantities.’

First black mark, Bond thought. He already knew from M – who had his own sources – that Kolya Mosolov had omitted the most significant weapons: a large number of RPG – 7V Anti-Tank launchers, complete with rockets that carried several different kinds of warheads – conventional, chemical, and tactical nuclear – large enough to wreck a small town and devastate a fifty-mile radius from point of impact.

The RPG-7 is the most common reloadable rocket launcher in the world, widely copied and in distribution anywhere there's a conflict. It's a simple, relatively lightweight weapon (14 pounds before the rocket and any scope) that's very easy even for poorly trained guerrillas to use. The rockets are in two sections: a booster charge of gunpowder that launches it out of the tube, then the rocket with the warhead itself ignites 10 meters out. Contrary to how rocket launches look in movies and video games, the rocket travels at almost 1000 feet per second and it tends to hit the target only a fraction of a second after firing.

The part here that is not true is that any form of nuclear or chemical warhead was developed for it, let alone one with a 50-mile radius of destruction. The RPG-7's rockets self-destruct at a maximum range of 1100 meters. Even the Davy Crockett, an utterly ridiculous nuclear recoilless gun that could fit in a jeep, had a maximum range of 2.5 miles and would cause fatal radiation poisoning out to a quarter mile.


‘This equipment disappeared during the winter, when we keep a small garrison at Base Blue Hare, as we call the depot. The Colonel who made the discovery used his common sense. He told nobody at Blue Hare, but reported straight back to the GRU.’

Bond nodded. That figured: the Glavnoye Razvedy-vatelnoye Upravleniye – Soviet Military Intelligence, an organisation linked umbilically with the KGB – would be the natural source to be informed.

‘The GRU put in a pair of monks – that’s what they like to call undercover men working in government offices, or army units.’

‘And they lived up to their holy orders?’ Bond asked without a smile.

‘More than that. They’ve located the ringleaders – greedy NCOs being paid off by some outside source.’

So standard Soviet corruption?


‘So,’ Bond interrupted, ‘you know how the stuff was stolen . . .’

Kolya smiled. ‘How, and the direction in which it was moved. We’re fairly certain that, last winter, the consignment was taken over the Finnish border. It’s a difficult frontier to cover, though parts are mined, and we’ve cut away miles of trees. People still come in and go out every day. That’s the way we believe the stuff went.’

‘You don’t know the first destination, then?’ It was Bond’s second testing question.

Mosolov hesitated. ‘We’re not certain. Our satellites are trying to pinpoint a possible location, and our people have their eyes open for the prime suspect. But the facts are still unclear.’

James Bond turned to the others. ‘And is it just as uncertain to you two?’

‘We only know what Kolya’s told us,’ Rivke said calmly. ‘This is a friendly operation of trust.’

‘Langley have given me a name nobody’s mentioned yet, that’s all.’ Brad Tirpitz was obviously not going to say more, so Bond asked Mosolov if he had a name to say aloud.

There was a long pause. Bond waited for the name which M had given him on the last night, in that office high on the ninth floor of the building overlooking Regent’s Park.

‘It’s so uncertain . . .’ Mosolov did not wish to be drawn.

Bond opened his mouth to speak again, but Kolya quickly added: ‘Next week. By this time next week we may well have it all sewn up. Our GRU monks report that another consignment is to be stolen. That’s why we have little time. As a team, our job is to gain evidence of the theft, then follow the route by which the arms are removed – right up to their final destination.’

‘And you think the man who’ll receive them will be Count Konrad von Glöda?’ Bond gave a broad smile.

Kolya Mosolov did not show any signs of emotion or surprise.

Brad Tirpitz chuckled. ‘London has the same information as Langley, then.’

Of course it's a count.


‘Who’s von Glöda?’ Rivke asked, not attempting to disguise her shock. ‘Nobody’s mentioned any Count von Glöda to me.’

Bond removed the gunmetal cigarette case from his hip pocket, placed a slim white H. Simmons cigarette between his lips, lit it, inhaled smoke, then let it out in a long thin stream. ‘My people – and the CIA too, it would appear – have information that the principal acting on behalf of the NSAA, in Finland, is a Count Konrad von Glöda. That true, Kolya?’

Mosolov’s eyes still remained cloudy. ‘It’s a code name. A cryptonym, that’s all. There was no point giving you that information yet.’

‘Why not? Are you hiding anything else, Kolya?’ Bond did not smile this time.

Always good to know that everyone in a joint operation is hiding the details from each other.


‘Only that I would hope to lead you to von Glöda’s retreat in Finland next week when we carry out our surveillance on Blue Hare, Mr Bond. I had also hoped you would accompany me into Russia to see it all for yourself.’

James Bond could hardly believe it. A KGB man was actually inviting him into the spider’s web, under the pretext of witnessing the theft of a large quantity of arms. And there was no way, now, in which he could tell whether Kolya Mosolov meant it to be a genuine part of Operation Icebreaker, or whether Icebreaker was merely some carefully dreamed-up device to trap Bond on Soviet soil.

It was the latter possibility that M had warned Bond about, before 007 had left for Madeira.

Jul 23, 2000

Wait, why would it all have been a trap for Bond when he's the replacement for the original British guy? Why would the USSR leak a bunch of weapons to a Neo-Nazi organization as part of a plan to trap James Bond in the USSR when all they have to do is send him a copy of Russian Playboy and he'll come running?

Apr 23, 2014

Feb 21, 2010

John "Black Jack" Pershing
Hard Fucking Core

And why is the CIA guy named Tirpitz?

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 6: Yellow vs. Silver


The four members of the Icebreaker team had arranged to meet for dinner, but Bond had other ideas. M’s warnings of duplicity among the uneasy quartet had been made all too apparent at the short briefing in Kolya’s room.

If it had not been for the nudge from Brad Tirpitz, the name of Count Konrad von Glöda would not have been mentioned; and, according to M, this mystery man was a key figure in any combined security investigation. Nor had Kolya bothered to give him full details of the more dangerous items missing from the Russian Blue Hare Ordnance Depot.

While Brad Tirpitz was obviously as well-informed as Bond, it seemed that Rivke remained very much in the dark. The whole projected operation – including the business of surveying a second large theft from the Russian side of the border – did not bode well.

What could go wrong?


Although the dinner meeting was agreed, Kolya had been insistent that all four members of Icebreaker should be off the island, heading back into the operational area in Finland, within the next forty-eight hours. A rendezvous had even been given, and accepted by all.

Bond knew there were things he had to do before joining the others in the bitter climate of the Arctic Circle. There were several flights out of Madeira on the Sunday morning, so doubtless Kolya would make suggestions – at dinner – as to how they should split up and travel separately. But James Bond was certainly not going to wait on Kolya Mosolov’s instructions.

On leaving the room, he made his excuses to Rivke – who wanted him to have a drink with her in the bar – and made for his own quarters. Within fifteen minutes, James Bond was on his way in a cab to Funchal Airport.

There followed a long wait. It was Saturday, and he had missed the three o’clock flight. He didn’t get away until the last aircraft of the night – the ten o’clock, which, at that time of year, runs only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The details of what happens next aren't very important. Bond wants to get to Finland before the rest of them, and the flight schedule lets him skip Lisbon to go straight to Amsterdam and then take a red-eye into Helsinki.


In his room, Bond quickly checked his overnight bag and the customised briefcase, with its hidden compartments for the two Sykes Fairburn commando knives, and the Heckler & Koch P7 automatic, all screened so that they would not show up on airport X-ray machines or during security examinations – a device which the Armourer’s assistant in Q Branch, Ann Reilly – known to all as Q’ute – had perfected to such a degree that she was loath to give even members of her own department the technical details.

Remember when they tried to have Q'ute be an actual character?


After some argument, mainly from Bond, the Armourer had agreed on Heckler & Koch’s P7, ‘squeeze cocking’, 9mm automatic in preference to the rather cumbersome VP70, with its long ‘double action’ pull for each shot. The weapon was lighter and more like his old beloved Walther PPK, now banned by the security services.

Our favorite gun guy, Ian McCollum, did a James Bond-themed 2-gun match a year ago. Being limited to an 8-round handgun for the class division, Ian decided that a P7 was realistically the best option for Bond at the time and paired it with a "captured" East German AK-74.


Before taking a shower and going to bed, Bond sent a fast-rate cable to Erik Carlsson, in Rovaniemi, with instructions about his Saab; then he ordered a call for eleven-fifteen, with breakfast.

He slept peacefully, even though, in the back of his mind, the problems regarding Mosolov, Tirpitz and Ingber – particularly Mosolov – nagged away. He woke, refreshed, but with those thoughts uppermost.

Adhering to his usual scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, marmalade and coffee, Bond finished breakfast before dialling the London number where he knew M would be found on a Sunday morning. There followed a conversation using a double-talk, which was standard, so far as Bond and his chief were concerned, when it came to open telephone calls in the field.

Once contact had been established, Bond gave M the outline details: ‘I talked to the three customers, sir. They’re interested, but I cannot be altogether certain they’ll buy.’

‘They tell you everything about their plans?’ M sounded uncommonly young on the telephone.

‘No. Mr East was decidedly cagey about the Principal we spoke of. I must say Virginia seemed to know most of the details, but Abrahams appeared to be completely in the dark.’

Our Israeli is being referred to by Israel Abrahams, a very famous late 19th-20th century Jewish scholar.


‘Ah.’ M waited.

‘East is keen for me to go and see the source of the last shipment. He says there’s another due out any time.’

‘That’s quite possible.’

‘But I have to tell you he did not give me the full details of that last consignment.’

‘I suggested he might hold back.’ You could almost see M smile with the satisfaction of having been right.

‘Anyway, I’m moving north again late this afternoon.’

‘You have any figures?’ M asked, giving Bond the opportunity to provide a map reference of the proposed meeting point.

He had already worked out the reference, so rattled off the figures, repeating them to give M the opportunity to jot down the numbers, which were purposely jumbled, each pair being reversed.

‘Right,’ M answered. ‘Going by air?’

‘Air and road. I’ve arranged for the car to be waiting.’ Bond hesitated.

‘There’s one more thing, sir.’


‘You remember the lady? The one we had the problem with – sharp as a knife?’


‘Well, her girlfriend. The one with the funny father.’ His reference was to Anni Tudeer.

M grunted an affirmative.

‘I’ll need a photograph for recognition.’

"In private, in my hotel room."


‘I don’t know. Could be difficult. Difficult for you as well as us.’

‘I’d appreciate it, sir. I really think it’s vital.’

‘See what I can do.’ M did not sound convinced.

‘Just send it if you can. Please, sir.’

‘Well . . .’

‘If you can. I’ll be in touch when there’s more.’ Bond rang off abruptly.

There it was again – a reluctance in M: something he had not experienced before. It had been there when Rivke Ingber was mentioned during the London briefing. Now it was back at the first hint of positive ID on Anni Tudeer who, to Bond, was simply a name mentioned by Paula Vacker.

Someone that Bond, hopefully, will not gently caress.


The Finnair DC9-50 that was Flight 846 from Amsterdam to Helsinki began its final approach at 9.45 that evening. Looking down on the lights, diffused by the cold and snow, Bond wondered if the other three had already reached Finland. In the short time since his last visit more snow had fallen, and the aircraft put down on an ice-cleared runway which was, in reality, a cutting through snow banks rising on either side, higher than the DC9-50 itself.

From the moment Bond walked into the terminal building, his senses went into high gear. Not only did he watch for signs of his three partners, but also for any other possible tail. He had good reason to remember his last brush, with the two killers, in this beautiful city.

Bond now took a cab to the Hesperia Hotel – a calculated choice. He wanted to do the journey to their RV on his own, and it was quite possible that Mosolov, Tirpitz and Rivke Ingber were, separately, already en route and in the Finnish capital. If any member of the group were looking for Bond, the Inter-Continental would almost certainly be watched.

The Hesperia, now the Crowne Plaza Hesperia, was mentioned earlier when Paula asked why he wasn't staying there. The site was originally home to the Töölö Library, which was torn down and replaced with the hotel opening in May 1972. Kemper's statement about it being a haven for prostitutes is likely related to it being home to the Hesperia nightclub, which featured artists like Frank Zappa and ABBA, and then a casino at the time Bond is visiting. It's in a prime spot on the Mannerheimintie overlooking Hesperia Park.


With these thoughts in mind, Bond took great care about the way in which he moved – giving himself time to look around as he paid off the cab; waiting, for a moment, outside the main doors of the hotel; checking the foyer the moment he stepped inside.

Even now, while asking the girl at Reception about the Saab Turbo, Bond managed to place himself at a vantage point.

‘You have a car here, I believe. A Saab 900 Turbo. Silver. Delivered in the name of Bond. James Bond.’

I want to imagine he says it all as one word now.


The girl at the long reception desk gave an irritated frown, as though she had better things to do than check on cars delivered to the hotel on behalf of foreign guests.

Bond registered for one night and paid in advance, but he had no intention of spending the night in Helsinki if the car had arrived. The journey from Rovaniemi to Helsinki at this time of the year took around twenty-four hours: that was providing there were no blizzards, and the roads did not become blocked. Erik Carlsson should make it easily, with his great skill and experience as a former rally driver.

He had made it, in staggering time. Bond had expected a wait, but the girl at the desk said the car was here, waving the keys as if to prove the point. In his room, Bond took a one hour nap and then began to prepare for the work ahead. He changed into Arctic clothing – a track suit over Damart underwear, quilted ski pants, Mukluk boots, a heavy rollneck sweater and the blue padded cold-weather jacket, produced by tol-ma oy in Finland for Saab. Before slipping into the jacket, he strapped on the holster – especially designed by Q Branch – for the Heckler & Koch P7. This adjustable holster could be fitted in a variety of positions, from the hip to shoulder. This time, Bond tightened the straps so that it lay centrally across his chest. He checked the P7, loaded it, and slid several spare magazines – each with ten rounds – into the pockets of his jacket.

Amazingly, I can show you this exact jacket because one is for sale on Etsy currently!

The mention of 10-round magazines for the P7 is incorrect, unless Q Branch is also making extended mags for Bond. The only P7 to have 10-round magazines is the P7M10 in .40 S&W, which was introduced in 1991 alongside the new cartridge.


The briefcase contained everything else he might need – apart from the clothes in his overnight bag – and any other necessary armament, tools, flares, and various pyrotechnic devices were in the car.

While dressing, Bond dialled Paula Vacker’s number. It rang twenty-four times without answer, so he tried the office number, knowing in his heart of hearts that there would be nobody there, not on a Sunday night at this late hour.

Cursing silently – for Paula’s absence meant an extra chore before he left – Bond completed dressing: he slid a Damart hood over his head, topped it with a comfortable woolly hat, and protected his hands with thermal driving gloves. He also slipped a woollen scarf around his neck and pocketed a pair of goggles, knowing that, if he had to leave the car in sub-zero temperatures, it was essential to cover all areas of his face and hands.

Finally Bond rang reception to say he was checking out, then went straight to the parking area, where the silver 900 Turbo gleamed under the lights.

The main case went into the hatchback boot, where Bond checked that everything was loaded as he had asked: the spade; two boxes of field rations; extra flares; and a large Pains-Wessex ‘Speedline’ line-throwing pack, which would deliver 275 metres of cable over a distance of 230 metres with speed and accuracy.

The Pains-Wessex linethrower is still being manufactured. It uses a rocket to launch a coiled line at high velocity, generally to nearby ships.


Already Bond had opened the front of the car, in order to turn off the anti-intruder and tamper alarm switches. He now went forward again to go through the rest of the equipment: the secret compartments which contained maps, more flares and the big new Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum revolver which was now his additional armament – a man-stopper, and, also, if handled correctly, a car-stopper.

Bond is just upgrading all his poo poo! The Ruger Redhawk is an upscaled version of their Security-Six to .44 Magnum, capable of withstanding incredibly powerful loads. This is a big improvement from his Blackhawk, as it's now a double-action revolver with a swing-out cylinder for faster loading.


At the press of one of the innocent-looking buttons on the dashboard, a drawer slid back, revealing half a dozen egg-shaped, so-called ‘practice grenades’, which are, in reality, stun grenades used by British Special Forces. At the rear of this ‘egg box’ there lay four more lethal hand bombs – the L2A2s that are standard British Army equipment, derived from the American M26s.

Bond's stun grenades are Schermuly Training Grenades. They're made of plastic with an open bottom for a paper-wrapped pyrotechnic charge to explode out of. While intended as a practice grenade, it was found that the very loud and bright explosion would disorient enemies if thrown in a room beforehand. The SAS quickly began making use of them as such until purpose-built flashbangs like the distinctive American M84 could be designed.

Bond's lethal grenades, as described, are a copy of the American M26. These "lemons", rather than pineapples, use a pre-notched coil of wire as the more consistent fragmentation medium; the older Mk. II and Mills bombs use the segmented body for fragmentation, but this doesn't shatter consistently.


Opening the glove compartment, Bond saw that his compass was in place, together with a little note from Erik: Good luck whatever you’re doing, to which he had added, Remember what I’ve taught you about the left foot! Erik.

Bond smiled, recalling the hours he had spent with Carlsson learning left foot braking techniques, to spin and control the car on thick ice.

The same hours Gardner himself spent with Carlsson during research!


Lastly he walked around the Saab to be certain all the tyres were correctly studded. It was a long drive to Salla – something like a thousand kilometres: easy enough in good weather, but a slog in the ice and snow of winter.

Running through the control check like a pilot before take-off, Bond switched on the head-up display unit, modified and fitted from the Saab Viggen fighter aircraft. The illuminated display gave digital speed and fuel readings, as well as showing the graded converging lines which would help a driver to steer safely – tiny radar sensors indicating any snowdrifts, or piles, to left and right, thereby eliminating the possibility of ploughing into any deep or irregular snow.

In real life, it would be the 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that would be the first production car with a HUD. Bond's, obviously, is far more advanced than this.


Before leaving for Salla, he had one personal call to make. He started the engine, reversed, then took the car up the ramp into the main street, turning down the Mannerheimintie, and heading towards Esplanade Park.

The snow statues were still decorating the park; the man and woman remained clamped in their embrace; and, as he locked the car, Bond thought he could hear, far away across the city, a cry like an animal in pain.

Paula’s door was closed, but there was something odd. Bond was aware of it immediately: that extra sense which comes from long experience. He quickly unclipped two of the centre studs on his jacket, giving access to the Heckler & Koch. Placing the ungainly rubber toe of his right Mukluk boot against the outer edge of the door, he applied pressure. The door swung back, loose on its hinges.

The automatic pistol was in Bond’s hand in a reflex action the moment he saw the lock and chain had been torn away. From a quick glance, it looked like brute force – certainly not a sophisticated entrance. Stepping to one side, he stood holding his breath, listening. Not a sound, either from inside Paula’s flat or from the rest of the building.

Slowly Bond moved forward. The flat was a shambles: furniture and ornaments broken and strewn everywhere. Still walking softly, and with the P7 firmly in his grip, he went towards the bedroom. The same thing. Drawers and cupboards had been opened, and clothes were scattered everywhere; even the duvet had been slashed to pieces with a knife. Going from room to room, Bond found the same wreckage, and there was no sign of Paula.

All Bond’s senses told him to get out: leave it alone, maybe telephone the police once he was clear of Helsinki. It could be a straight robbery, or a kidnapping disguised to look like a burglary. A third possibility, though, was the most probable, for there was a paradoxical order among the chaos, the signs of a determined search. Somebody had been after a particular item.

Wow, Gardner is actually making a relatively grounded thriller!

We'll see how long that lasts.


Bond quickly went through the rooms a second time. Now there were two clues – three if you counted the fact that the lights were all on when he arrived.

On the dressing table, which had been swept clear of Paula’s rows of unguents and make-up, lay one item. Carefully Bond picked it up, turning it over and weighing it in his hand. A valuable piece of Second World War memorabilia? No, this was something more personal, more significant: a German Knight’s Cross, hanging on the distinctive black, white and red ribbon, with an oak leaves and swords clasp. A high honour indeed. As he turned it, the engraving was clearly visible on the reverse side of the medal: ‘SS-Oberführer Aarne Tudeer. 1944.’

It was pointed out to me that the Tudeers are a prominent publishing family in Finland. I wonder if Gardner meant to use their name for the Nazis, and what he meant by it?


Bond slipped the medal into one of the pockets of his jacket, and, as he turned away, heard a tinkling noise, as though he had kicked something metallic on the floor. He scanned the carpet and spotted the dull glow near the chrome leg of a bedside table. Another decoration? No, this was a campaign shield, again German: a dark bronze, surmounted by an eagle, the shield stamped with a rough map of the far north of Finland and Russia. At the top, one word: LAPLAND. The Wehrmacht shield for service in the far north, also engraved on the back, but dated 1943.

Tudeer having a Lapplandschild is either an error or implying something. Because the campaign decoration was hastily commissioned toward the end of the war, the vast majority of issuances were between July and September 1945, after Germany's surrender. That's why it doesn't have a swastika. Tudeer had gone into hiding after the war to avoid a war crimes trial, so how would he have gotten it?


Bond put it in his pocket with the Knight’s Cross and headed for the main door. There were no bloodstains anywhere and he could only hope that Paula was simply away on one of her many business, or pleasure, jaunts.

Back in the Saab, he turned up the heating and swung the car out of Esplanade Park. Going back up the Mannerheimintie he headed for Route 5, which would take him on the long trek north, skirting the cities of Lahti, Mikkeli, Varkaus and on into Lapland, the Arctic Circle, Kuusamo and then, just short of Salla, to the Hotel Revontuli, the RV arranged with the three other members of Icebreaker.

It had been bitterly cold when he left Paula’s apartment building. There was the smell of snow in the air, and frost was almost visibly rising around the buildings of Helsinki.

Once clear of the city, Bond placed all his concentration on driving, pushing the car to its limits within the road and visibility conditions. The main Finnish roads are exceptional, even when you get far north; and there, in the depths of the winter, snow ploughs keep the main arteries open, though for most of the time as a solid surface of ice.

There was no moon, and for the next eight or nine hours Bond was conscious only of the glaring white, thrown back as his headlights hit the snow, suddenly dulling as great acres of fir trees, sheltered from snow, loomed ahead.

The Revontuli resort is about 300 kilometers or so north of Helsinki. Today it would only take about 4 hours to drive without snow, thanks to modern highways and GPS. The European Union has led to European Route E75 running from Norway to Greece, which is now the highway Bond would be taking today.


The others would be travelling by air, of that he was sure, but Bond wanted his own mobility, even though he knew it would have to be abandoned at Salla. If he was to cross the border with Kolya, they would have to move with great stealth through the forests, across lakes, and over the hills and valleys of the winter wasteland of the Circle.

The Saab’s head-up display was invaluable – almost a complete guidance system, showing Bond the way the snow was banked on either side of the road. The farther north he travelled, the more sparse the villages, and, at this time of year, there were only a few hours that could be called daylight. The rest was either dusk, a seemingly perpetual dusk, or utter darkness.

Because of Finland's very northern latitude, Lapland especially has inconsistent daylight. During the summer, from late May to late July, the sun often never dips below the horizon. In all of December until the end of January, by contrast, the sun never rises higher than to give some limited dusk. Even in the southern city of Helsinki, there can be as few as 6 hours of daylight in a 24-hour period.


He stopped twice, for petrol and a snack meal. By four in the afternoon – though it could well have been midnight – the Saab had taken him to within some forty kilometres of Suomussalmi. Now he was relatively close to the Russo-Finnish border, and within a few hours of the Arctic Circle. There was still a lot of driving to be done, though, and so far the weather conditions had not proved especially hostile.

Twice the Saab had run into patches of heavy snow, whipped into white and blinding whirlpools by strong winds. But each time Bond had pressed on, outrunning the blizzards, and praying they were isolated. They were; yet so strange was the weather that he had also encountered sudden rises in temperature which set up misty conditions, slowing him even more than the snow.

This was filmed across the sea in Sweden, but at a similar latitude to where Bond is driving. This should show just how nasty the blizzards here can get.


There were times when the Saab travelled on long flat stretches of iced road, through small communities going about their daily round – lights bright in shops, muffled figures stomping along pavements, women pulling tiny plastic sledges behind them, piled high with groceries bought at small supermarkets. Then, once out of the town or village, there seemed to be nothing but the endless landscape of snow and trees, the occasional heavy lorry, or car heading back towards the last town; or great monster log-bearing trucks, lumbering in either direction.

Fatigue came in small waves. Bond occasionally pulled over, allowing the bitter cold to enter the car for a few moments, then resting for a very short period. Occasionally he sucked a glucose tablet, blessing the comfort of the Saab’s adjustable seating.

After some seventeen hours on the road, Bond found himself around thirty kilometres from the junction between Route 5 and the fork which would take him farther east, on the direct road running east-west between Rovaniemi and the border area of Salla. The fork itself is 150 kilometres east of Rovaniemi, and just over forty kilometres west of Salla.

I actually found the drat thing on a map! This part of Route 5 is now part of European Route E63. The fork is currently home to a gas station and truck stop with a cafe, Voitto Kelloniemi ky.


The landscape picked up in his headlights remained unchanged – snow, blank to an unseen horizon; great forests, frosted with ice, suddenly turning to brown and a matt green, as though camouflaged, in sections which had escaped the full force of blizzards, or remained unaffected by the heavy frost. Occasionally, he glimpsed a clearing with the shape of a snow-covered kota – the Lapp wigwam, made of poles and skin, very similar to that of some North American Indians – or the wreckage of a log cabin, collapsed by the weight of snow.

The aforementioned truck stop has a replica kota on display outside. The actual name in the Northern Sámi language is goahti, though they have different names in the various Scandinavian languages. It's made by connecting poles into a conical shape (they don't touch at the top) and then covering it with a skin of fabric, peat moss, and/or wood or bark. As the Sámi were semi-nomadic reindeer herders, their homes needed to be easy to assemble and disassemble for transport.


Bond relaxed, fighting the wheel, correcting, alert to any sudden shift in control as he sent the Saab screaming on at a safe rate across the ice and packed snow. He could already smell success – arrival at the hotel without needing to use air transport. He might just get to their RV first, which would be a bonus.

He was on a lonely stretch now, with nothing but the fork in the road about ten kilometres ahead, and little between this point and Salla except for the odd Lapp camp or deserted summer log cottages. He slackened speed to take a long curve in the road and, as he rounded the bend, was conscious of a turning to his right, and some lights ahead. Bond flicked down the headlight beams, then up again, for a second, to see what was ahead. In the dazzle he caught sight of a giant yellow snow plough, its lights on full and the great bow of the plough like that of a warship.

This was not a modern snow-blower, but the more sturdy kind of monster. The snow plough they used mainly in this part of the world had a great high body, with a thick glass cabin on top, giving maximum view. The body was driven by wide caterpillar tracks, like those on self-propelled field artillery; while the actual plough was operated, ahead of the vehicle, by a series of hydraulic pistons which could alter angle or height in a matter of seconds.

You just loving know Gardner saw a giant snow plow during his research trip and decided he had to do this scene on the spot.


As for the ploughs on these massive machines, they were sharp steel, V-shaped bows, some ten feet high, curving back from the cutting edge so that the snow and ice were forced to each side, then tossed away by the sheer momentum of the blade’s attack.

Though they appeared cumbersome, the machines could reverse, traverse and turn with the ability of a heavy tank. What was more, they were specifically designed to remain mobile in the worst possible winter conditions.

The Finns had long since conquered the problems of snow and ice on their main arterial roads, and these brutes were often followed by the big snow-blowers to clean up after the first devastating assault on deep snow and ice.

drat, Bond thought. Where there were snow ploughs there would almost certainly be the remnants of a blizzard. Silently he cursed, for it would be bad luck, having already outrun two blizzards, to be caught in the aftermath of a third.

Changing down, he glanced into his mirror. Behind him, with its lights also full on, a second plough appeared – presumably from the turning he had just passed.

Well, there must be a lot of snow!


He allowed the car to coast, then picked up the engine again, edging gently forward. If there were bad falls of snow ahead, and even off to the east, he wanted to pull over as far as possible and allow the great juggernaut complete right of passage.

As he pulled over, Bond realised the plough ahead was holding the centre of the road. Another glance in the mirror told him the plough behind was doing the same thing. In that instant, Bond felt the hair on the nape of his neck prickle with the sensed danger. He passed a crossroads and one glance to the right told him the road was relatively clear. These ploughs, therefore, were not out on their normal job: their purpose was more sinister.

Yes. It's what you think it is.


Bond was only three seconds past the crossroads when he acted, wrenching the wheel to the right, slamming his left foot hard on to the brake, feeling the back begin to swing into the inevitable skid, then gunning the accelerator and spinning the Saab in a controlled turn. In that instant, Bond had changed direction. Gently he increased the revs, correcting the back swing which would send him into a second spin across the coating of ice below him.

The plough which had been behind was considerably closer than he had judged, and, as he increased his own speed, concentrating on the feel of the car, ready to correct at the first hint of a developing swing, the solid metal hulk grew larger, bearing down on him as they closed.



He would be lucky to make the crossroads before the plough, and, though there was no time to look, Bond knew the other snow plough had also increased speed. If he did not reach the crossroads in time, either he would hit the snowbank at the side of the road – burying the Saab’s nose deep so that the car would be at anyone’s mercy – or the two ploughs would catch him, front and rear, crushing the car between their knife-like curved blades.

One hand left the wheel for a second, to punch at two of the buttons on the dashboard. There was a quiet hiss as the hydraulic system opened two of the hidden compartments. Now the grenades and his Ruger Super Redhawk were within reach. So were the crossroads. Straight ahead. The snow plough in front of him, burning yellow and steel in Bond’s headlights, was about twelve metres from the intersection. Feinting like a boxer, Bond started to turn right. He saw the plough grind to its left, pounding out speed in an attempt to cut into the Saab as it took the right-angled turn.

Then, at almost the last moment, when he had all but committed himself to the turn, Bond swung the wheel even harder right, left-footed on to the brake again, and once more increased the revs, tramping down on the accelerator.

The car spun like an aircraft, Bond’s feet coming off both brake and accelerator at the same moment, just as the vehicle was half-way through the spin and starting to move, broadside on, lining up with the road opposite – the road that would have been his left turn.

The closest analogue in the films (that we won't see in a novelization later...) would probably be the police chase in Czechoslovakia in The Living Daylights, with Bond in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante armed with cutting lasers, heat-seeking missiles, and a rocket booster for a spectacular jump. It was one of many Bond cars included in a DLC pack for Forza Horizon 4 in 2018, and is reappearing in No Time to Die if it ever loving comes out.


Correcting the steering, and slowly increasing the revs, Bond felt the car react, like a perfectly controlled animal, the rear sliding slightly. Correct. Slide. Correct. Accelerator. Then he was on line, moving comfortably forward with the huge bulk of the two snow ploughs rising to his right and left.

As he cleared the blade of the more dangerous plough – now on his right – Bond snatched at the grenades, doing the unforgivable and ripping the pin from an L2A2 with his teeth as he part-opened the driving door to drop it clear, and in his wake. The bitter air blasted into the car as Bond struggled to slam the door shut. Then he felt the shudder as the Saab’s rear grazed the steel blade of the plough to his right

You see it in fiction a lot so I'm going to set the record straight: do not pull a grenade pin with your teeth. It can take up to 10 pounds of force to remove a typical grenade's pin, which is more likely to rip out your teeth than the pin.


For a second, he thought the touch would throw him right off track and into the heavily piled snow on either side of the secondary road into which he was heading. But the car steadied and he regained control, hearing the snow piled at the side of the road spume upwards as his mudguards hit it. There was just enough room to take the car up the smaller road between the high white mounds. Then, from behind, came the crump of the grenade. A quick glance into the mirror – for he hardly dared take his eyes from the road and the head-up display – showed a dark red flower of flame coming from directly beneath one of the high yellow ploughs. With luck, the grenade would be enough to bog down that plough for ten minutes or so, while the other pushed it, incapacitated, out of the way.

In any case, Bond figured, even along this narrow, dangerous, snow-flanked gulley of a road, he could outrun any snow plough. That was, any snow plough behind him. He had not counted for yet another – dead ahead, spotlights splitting the darkness, dazzling him as it came, seemingly from nowhere. This time there was no place to hide.


Behind, with good fortune, one plough would be out of action and another ready to follow up as soon as the way was clear. Ahead, yet a third yellow monster came on, snow pluming from its bows. Presumably, Bond thought, there would be a fourth lying silent, with lights dowsed, along the other road of the cross.

Like some classic military armoured operation, someone had laid an ambush, strictly for Bond. Just at the right place, and the right time. But he did not stop to work out the logic, or the intelligence, which might have led someone to set the trap. The yellow plough had locked lights with the Saab, but even through the dazzle, Bond could see the curved blade move downwards until it was just clipping the ice at the centre of the road, its bows still distributing the gathered snowdrifts away and behind it with the ease of a motorboat throwing off water at speed.

Mind racing, Bond pulled over as far as he dared and stopped the car. Staying inside now would be lunacy. Think of it as a military assault. He was cornered, and there was only one thing to be done – stop the snow plough bearing down on him.

The Redhawk, with its .44 Magnum punch – and fast double action – was the handgun needed now. Bond grabbed it, stuffed two L2A2s into his jacket pockets, opened the door gently and just before rolling low out of the car, grabbed at one of the stun grenades – ‘flash-bangs’ as the Special Air Service dubbed them.

It's fun to see the slow progression of technology over the course of these books. Something that's now commonly known by everyone is still a weird British thing in 1983.


The ground was hard, and the biting cold hit Bond like iced water as he rolled to the rear of the car and launched himself into the high snowdrift to the left. The snow was powdery and soft. In a second he was waist-deep and sinking. Bond kicked backwards, getting his legs into a kneeling position, still sinking until he was buried almost to the shoulders.

But this was a new and very different vantage point from which to fight. The dazzle of the snow plough’s lights and the big spot above the cab was gone. Through his goggles, Bond could see two men at the controls, and the cumbersome vehicle shifting, aiming itself towards him. There was no doubt. They were going in for the kill prepared to slice the Silver Beast in half. Silver versus yellow, thought Bond, and raised his right arm, the left hand still clutching the stun grenade, wrist under right wrist to steady his aim.

His first shot took out the spotlight; the second shattered the glass screen of the plough’s cabin. Bond had aimed high. He wanted no killing if it could be avoided.

They're trying to kill you! With snowplows!


One of the doors opened and a figure began to climb out. At that moment Bond lowered the Redhawk, switched it to his left hand in exchange for the stun grenade, pulled the pin and lobbed the hard green egg with all the force he could muster towards the shattered screen of the cab.

The grenade must have gone off right inside the cab. Bond heard the thunderclap, but averted his eyes. The flash would certainly cause temporary blindness, and the explosion might rupture the occupants’ eardrums.

Holding the revolver high, Bond rolled himself out of the snowdrift, almost swimming his way out through the thick, heavy powder, until he could stand and move – with some caution – towards the plough.

One of the crew was lying unconscious beside the big machine: the man who had tried to jump clear, Bond reckoned. The other, in the driver’s seat, had both arms over his face and rocked to and fro, moaning in harmony
with the wind which screamed down the funnel of the road.

Bond found a grip, pulled himself up on to the driver’s side, and tugged the cab door open. Some instinct must have told the driver of danger near by, for he cringed away. Bond clipped the man sharply on the back of the neck with the Ruger’s barrel, and he went to sleep with no further argument.

Probably a healthier way of going to sleep than his old "3 drinks and a few sleeping pills" method.


Oblivious to the cold, Bond hauled the man down, dragging him around the front of the plough and dumping him next to his partner before returning to the cab. The snow plough’s engine was running, and Bond felt as though he was sitting a mile above the wicked hydraulics and the great blade. The array of levers was daunting, but the engine still chugged away. All that concerned Bond was getting the brute off the road, or at least past the Saab and into a position in which it would block the remaining plough at the crossroads.

In the end it was simple. The normal mechanism worked with a wheel, clutch and throttle. It took Bond about three minutes to edge the giant down, past the Saab, and then across the road. He turned off the engine, removed the key and threw it out over the smooth snow dunes. The crew were both still unconscious, and would probably suffer from frostbite as well as the damage to their ears. That was little enough to pay, Bond thought, for having tried to carve him into a series of frozen joints.

Back in the car, he turned the heating full up to dry out, returned the Redhawk – after reloading – and the grenades to their respective hiding places, reset the buttons and consulted the map.

If the snow plough had come down the entire track, it should be clear right up to the main Salla road. Two hours’ more driving and he would make it. In the end, it took almost three full hours, for the track twisted and doubled back on itself before reaching the direct road.

At ten past midnight, Bond finally spotted the big illuminated sign proclaiming the Hotel Revontuli. A few minutes later there was the turn-off and the large crescent building, with a great ski jump, chair lift and ski run, brightly lit, climbing up behind the structure.


Bond parked the car, surprised that within a few moments of turning off the engine, the screen and bonnet began to frost over. Even so it was difficult to believe the cold. In the open air Bond slipped the goggles into place, made certain his scarf covered his face, then, taking the briefcase and his overnight bag from the car, set the sensors and alarms and operated the central locking device.

The hotel was all modern carved wood and marble. A large foyer with a bar leading off. People talked, laughed and drank at the bar. As Bond trudged towards Reception, a familiar voice greeted him.

‘Hi, James,’ called Brad Tirpitz. ‘What kept you? You ski the whole way?’

Bond nodded, pushing up the goggles and unwinding his scarf. ‘Seemed a nice night for a walk,’ he replied, straight-faced.

Wow, he's already here! Convenient!


They were expecting him at Reception, so checking in took only a couple of minutes. Tirpitz had returned to the bar – where, Bond noted, he drank alone – and neither of the others was in view. Bond needed sleep. The plan was to meet up at breakfast each day until the whole team arrived.

A porter took his case, and he was just turning towards the lifts when the girl on duty at Reception said there was an express airmail package for him. It was a slim manila envelope with a stiff card backing.

Once the porter had left his room, Bond locked the door and slit open the envelope. Inside was a small plain sheet of paper and a photograph. M had written in his own hand: This is the only available photograph of the subject. Please destroy. Well, Bond thought, at least he would know what Anni Tudeer looked like. He dropped on to the bed and held up the photograph.

Another new character!


Bond’s stomach turned over, then his muscles tensed. The face that stared back at him from the matt print was that of Rivke Ingber, his Mossad colleague. Anni Tudeer, Paula’s friend, daughter of the Finnish Nazi SS officer still wanted for war crimes, was Rivke Ingber.



With painful slowness, James Bond took a book of matches from the ashtray by the bed, struck one and set both photograph and note on fire.

Oct 9, 2012


There were times when the Saab travelled on long flat stretches of iced road, through small communities going about their daily round – lights bright in shops, muffled figures stomping along pavements, women pulling tiny plastic sledges behind them, piled high with groceries bought at small supermarkets. Then, once out of the town or village, there seemed to be nothing but the endless landscape of snow and trees, the occasional heavy lorry, or car heading back towards the last town; or great monster log-bearing trucks, lumbering in either direction.

The inadvertent pun of "log-bearing trucks lumbering in either direction" got called out in Bill Pronzini's Son of Gun in Cheek, a survey of bad mystery and thriller fiction.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 7: Rivke


For years Bond had nurtured the habit of taking cat naps and being able to control his sleep – even under stress. He had also acquired the knack of feeding problems into the computer of his mind, allowing the subconscious to work away while he slept. Usually he woke with a clear mind, sometimes with a new slant on difficulties, inevitably refreshed.

Most of the time he woke up deep in enemy territory.


After the exceptionally long and hard drive from Helsinki, Bond felt natural fatigue, though his mind was active with a maze of conflicting puzzles.

There was nothing he could do immediately about the break-in, and wrecking, of Paula’s Helsinki apartment. His main concern was for the girl’s safety. In the morning, a couple of telephone calls should establish that.

Much more worrying was the attack on him by the snow ploughs. Since he had left Madeira quickly, dog-legging his way to Helsinki via Amsterdam, this attempt on his life meant only one thing. Someone was watching all points of entry into Finland. They must have picked him up at the airport and, later, had knowledge of his departure by car.

Someone obviously wanted him out of the game, just as they had wanted him out before he had even been briefed: hence the knife assault in Paula’s apartment.

Dudley, who had filled in while M was waiting for Bond’s return, had indicated his mistrust of Kolya Mosolov. Bond himself had other ideas, and the latest development – the discovery that Mossad’s agent, Rivke Ingber, appeared to be the daughter of a wanted Finnish SS officer – was much more alarming.

Bond allowed these problems to penetrate his thoughts, as he showered and prepared for bed. Momentarily he considered food, then opted against it. Better fast until morning, when he would breakfast with the others – providing they had all arrived at the hotel.

Minutes after falling asleep, Bond is woken by a knock at the door. It's Rivke Ingber, of course!


His mind cleared. There were several answers to the questions facing Bond when he went to sleep. One was so obvious that he had already taken it into account. If Rivke was, in fact, the daughter of Aarne Tudeer, there could easily be a link between her and the National Socialist Action Army. She must be only thirty years old, thirty-one at the most, which meant that her formative years had probably been spent in some hiding place with her father. If this was so then it was quite possible that Anni Tudeer was a neo- Fascist deep penetration agent working inside Mossad and that she may have been tipped off that the British were close to her true identity. It was also possible that she suspected Bond’s colleagues would not be averse to withholding the information from the CIA and KGB. It had been done before, and Icebreaker was already proving to be an uneasy alliance.

Bond glanced at the illuminated dial of his Rolex Oyster Perpetual. It was four-thirty in the morning. Psychologically, Rivke could not have chosen a better moment.

‘Hang on,’ Bond whispered, recrossing the room to shrug himself into a towelling robe and replace the Heckler & Koch automatic under his pillow.

When he opened the door, Bond quickly decided she had come unarmed. There were very few places she could manage to hide anything in the outfit she wore: an opalescent white négligé hanging loose over a sheer, clinging matching nightdress. She would have been enough to make any man drop his guard, with her tanned body quite visible through the soft material, and the dazzling contrast of colour, underlined by the blonde shimmer of hair, and the eyes pleading in a hint of fear.

Of course she's wearing that.


Bond allowed her into the room, locked the door, and stood back. Well, he thought, his gaze quickly travelling down her body, she is either an ultra-professional or a very natural blonde.



‘Didn’t even know you’d got to the hotel,’ he said calmly. ‘Welcome.’

‘Thank you.’ She spoke quietly. ‘May I sit down, James? I’m terribly sorry to . . .’

‘My pleasure. Please . . .’ He indicated a chair. ‘Can I send for anything? Or do you want a drink from the fridge?’

Rivke shook her head. ‘This is so silly.’ She looked around as though disorientated. ‘So stupid.’

‘You want to talk about it?’

A quick nod. ‘Don’t think me a complete fool, James, please. I’m really quite good with men, but Tirpitz . . . well . . .’

‘You told me you could handle him, that you could have dealt with him before, when my predecessor thumped him.’

She was quiet for a moment, then, when she spoke it was a snap, a small explosion: ‘Well, I was wrong, wasn’t I? That’s all there is to it.’ She paused. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, James. I’m supposed to be highly trained and self-reliant. Yet . . .’

‘Yet Brad Tirpitz you can’t handle?’

So you're saying Israeli agents suck?


She smiled at Bond’s mocking timbre replying in kind: ‘He knows nothing of women.’ Then her face tightened, the smile disappearing from the eyes. ‘He really has been most unpleasant. Tried to force his way into my room. Very drunk. Gave the impression he wasn’t going to let up easily.’

‘So, you didn’t even hit him with your handbag?’

‘He was really scary, James.’

Skipped the Krav Maga, then?


Bond went over to the bedside table, picked up his cigarette case and lighter, offering the open case to Rivke, who shook her head as Bond lit up, blowing a stream of smoke towards the ceiling.

‘It’s out of character, Rivke.’ He sat on the end of the bed, facing her, searching the attractive face for some hint of truth.

‘I know.’ She spoke very quickly. ‘I know. But I couldn’t stay alone in my room. You’ve no idea what he was like . . .’

‘You’re not a wilting flower, Rivke. You don’t normally come running to the nearest male for protection. That’s back-to-the-cave-dwellers stuff – everything people like you hate, and despise.’

‘I’m sorry.’ She made to get up, her anger almost tangible for a second.

‘I’ll go, and leave you in peace. I just needed company. The rest of this so-called team doesn’t give anyone company.’

Bond put out a hand, touching her shoulder, quietly pushing her back into the chair. ‘Stay, by all means, Rivke. But please don’t take me for an idiot. You could handle Brad Tirpitz, drunk or sober, with a flick of your eyelashes . . .’

‘That’s not quite true.’

The ploy, Bond thought, dated back to the Garden of Eden, the oldest in the book. But who was he to argue? If a beautiful girl comes to your room in the middle of the night asking for protection – even though she is quite capable of looking after herself – she does so for one reason. But that was in the real world, not this maze of secrets and duplicity in which both Bond and Rivke lived and worked.

It's one you willingly jump into!


Taking another long pull on his cigarette, he made the vital decision. Rivke Ingber was alone in his room, and he knew who she really was.

Before she made any other move it would, perhaps, be best for him to put the cards firmly on the table.

‘A couple of weeks ago, Rivke, maybe even less – I seem to have lost all sense of time – did you do anything when Paula Vacker told you I was in Helsinki?’

‘Paula?’ She looked genuinely perplexed. ‘James, I don’t know . . .’

‘Look, Rivke,’ he leaned forward, taking her hands in his, ‘our business breeds odd friends; and, sometimes, strange enemies. I don’t want to become your enemy. But you need friends, my dear. You see, I know who you are.’

Her brow creased, the eyes becoming wary. ‘Of course. I’m Rivke Ingber. I work for Mossad; and I’m an Israeli citizen.’

"It's not suspicious of me at all to describe all of these facts!"


‘You don’t know Paula Vacker?’

There was no hesitation. ‘I’ve met her. Yes, a long time ago I knew her quite well. But I haven’t seen her for . . . Oh, it must be three, four years.’

‘And you haven’t been in touch with her lately?’ Bond heard his own voice, slightly supercilious. ‘You don’t work with her in Helsinki? You didn’t have a dinner date – which Paula cancelled – just before leaving for the Madeira meeting?’

‘No.’ Plain; open; straightforward.

‘Not even under your real name? Anni Tudeer?’

She took a deep breath, then exhaled, as though trying to expel every ounce of air from her body. ‘That’s a name I like to forget.’

‘I’ll bet.’

She quickly pulled her hands away. ‘Please James, I’ll have that cigarette now.’ Bond gave her one of his H. Simmons specials, lighting it for her. She inhaled deeply and allowed the smoke to trickle from her mouth. ‘You seem to know so much; I should let you tell me the story.’ Her voice was cold, all the friendly, even seductive, undertone gone.

He shrugged. ‘I know only who you are. I also know Paula Vacker. She told me she’d confided in you that we were meeting in Helsinki. I went to Paula’s apartment. There were a couple of knife experts keeping an eye on her and ready to treat me like a prime joint.’

One that's so frozen it could be used to beat a man to death and then be fed to the investigators!


‘I’ve told you, Paula hasn’t spoken to me in years. Apart from knowing my old name, and, presumably, the fact that I’m a former SS officer’s daughter, what do you really know?’

Bond smiled. ‘Only that you’re very beautiful. I know nothing about you, except what you call your old name.’

She nodded, face set, mask-like. ‘I thought so. All right, Mr James Bond, let me tell you the full story, so that you can set the record straight. After that, I think we’d both better try to find out what’s going on – I mean what happened at Paula’s . . . I’d like to know where Paula Vacker fits into all this.’

‘Paula’s flat was done over. I went there before leaving Helsinki yesterday. There was also a slight altercation with three – four – snow ploughs on my way here. The snow ploughs indicated they wanted to remodel my car, with me inside it. Somebody does not want me here, Anni Tudeer, or Rivke Ingber, whichever is your real name.’

Rivke frowned. ‘My father was – is – Aarne Tudeer; that’s true. You know his history?’

‘That he was on Mannerheim’s staff, and took the Nazis up on an offer to become an SS officer. Brave; ruthless; a wanted war criminal.’

She nodded. ‘I didn’t know about that part until I was around twelve years old.’ She spoke very softly, but with a conviction Bond felt was genuine. ‘When my father left Finland he took several of his brother officers, and some enlisted men, with him. In those days, as you know, there was a fair assortment of camp followers. On the day he left Lapland, my father proposed to a young widow. Good birth, had large holdings of land – forest mainly – in Lapland. My mother was part Lapp. She accepted, and volunteered to go with him, so becoming a kind of camp follower herself. She went through horrors you’d hardly believe.’ She shook her head, as though still not crediting her own mother’s actions. Tudeer had married on the day after leaving Finland, and his wife stayed near him until the collapse of the Third Reich. Together they had escaped.

‘My first home was in Paraguay,’ Rivke told him. ‘I knew nothing, of course. It wasn’t until later I realised that I spoke four languages almost from the beginning – Finnish, Spanish, German and English. We lived in a compound in the jungle. Quite comfortable really, but the memories of my father are not pleasant.’

The "Ratlines" were the system of escape routes used by fleeing Nazi war criminals to escape justice when the war ended. Argentina is the most infamous in popular culture, as President Juan Perón was a dedicated fascist and Nazi lover who ordered the creation of one of these routes to aid them, but Paraguay was one of many other countries where they fled to. Eduard Roschmann, the "Butcher of Riga", is the most notable of those who died there without ever seeing justice.


‘Tell me,’ Bond said. Little by little, he coaxed it out of her. It was, in fact, an old tale. Tudeer had been autocratic, drunken, brutal, and sadistic.

So....he was an SS officer.


‘I was ten years old before we escaped – my mother and I. To me it was a kind of game: dressed up as an Indian child. We got away by canoe, and then, with the help of some Guarani, made it to Asunción. My mother was a very unhappy lady. I don’t know how it was managed, but she got passports for both of us, Swedish passports, and some kind of grant. We were flown to Stockholm, where we stayed for six months. Every day my mother would go to the Finnish Embassy, and, eventually, we were granted our Finnish passports. Mother spent the first year in Helsinki getting a divorce and compensation for her lost land – up here, in the Circle. We lived in Helsinki, and I got my first taste of schooling. That’s where I met Paula. We became very good friends. That’s about it.’

It?’ Bond repeated, raising his eyebrows.

‘Well, the rest was predictable enough.’

It was while she was at school that Rivke began to learn the facts about her father. ‘By the age of fourteen I knew it all, and was horrified; disgusted that my own father had left his country to become part of the SS. I suppose it was an obsession – a complex. By the time I was fifteen, I knew what had to be done as far as my life went.’

Bond had heard many confessions during interrogations. After years of experience you develop a sense about them. He would have put money on Rivke’s being a true story – if only because it came out fast, with the minimum of detail. People operating under a deep cover often give you too much.

‘Revenge?’ he asked.

‘A kind of revenge. No, that’s the wrong word. My father had nothing to do with what Himmler called the Final Solution – the Jewish problem – but he was associated, he was a wanted criminal. I began to identify with the race that lost six million souls, in the gas chambers and the camps. Many people have told me I over-reacted, I wanted to do something concrete.’

‘You became a Jew?’

The first of many twists you won't see coming!


‘I went to Israel on my twentieth birthday. My mother died two years later. The last time I saw her was the day I left Helsinki. Within six months I made the first steps to conversion. Now I’m as Jewish as any Gentile-born can be. In Israel they tried everything in the book to put me off, but I stuck it out – even military service. It was that which finally clinched it.’ Her smile was one of pride this time. ‘Zamir himself sent for me, interviewed me. I couldn’t believe it when they told me who he was – Colonel Zwicka Zamir, the head of Mossad. He arranged everything, I was an Israeli citizen already. Now I went for special training, for Mossad. I had a new name . . .’

Zvi Zamir was born Zvicka Zarzevsky in 1925 in Poland. When he was 8 months old, his family moved to the British Mandate of Palestine, a joint occupied territory established by Britain and France in former Ottoman territory. This region would see numerous Jewish and Arab nationalist movements that would turn into warfare; Britain promised the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1917 under the Balfour Declaration, so after the 1947-1949 Palestine War the Mandate was divided among the new nation of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, and briefly an Egyptian bit on the Gaza Strip.

During this time, Zamir served in the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization that defended Jewish settlements in Palestine from Arab attack. When the Axis threatened the area in 1941, the Palmach was created as an elite fighting force within the Haganah to aid the British in defeating Germany and the Vichy French government. When the British cut off funding and demanding the disbanding of the Palmach in 1942, they went underground. They would continue fighting as a guerrilla/terrorist force that eventually began attacking their former British allies under the orders of David Ben-Gurion to force the British to finish establishing the Jewish state and remove their immigration caps.

Zvi Zamir joined the Palmach when he was 18 and was one of the founding officers of the new Israeli Defense Force. After time as the commander for the Southern Command and work as the military attaché for the IDF in London, he was appointed the new director of Mossad from 1968 to 1974. Zamir was the director of Operation Wrath of God, the effort by Mossad to find and assassinate the Palestinians involved in the 1972 terrorist attack on the Olympics in Munich that killed 11 members of the Israeli team. During the Yom Kippur War, when told that the CIA director would cut off support to Israel if not given evidence by the end of the day that Israel would win, Zamir called Vernon Walters on a secure line just to say "Kiss my rear end." He has since retired and now lives in Tel Aviv, still alive at 95.


‘And the revenge part, Rivke? You had atoned, but what about the revenge?’

‘Revenge?’ Her eyes opened wide. Then she frowned, anxiety crossing her face. ‘James, you do believe me, don’t you?’

In the couple of seconds which passed before he replied, Bond’s mind ran through the facts. Either Rivke was the best deception artist he had ever met, or, as he had earlier decided, completely honest. These feelings had to be put next to his long and intimate knowledge of Paula Vacker. From their first meeting, Bond had never suspected Paula of being anything but a charming, intelligent, hard-working girl. Now, if Rivke was telling the truth, Paula became a liar and possibly an accessory to attempted murder. The knife artists had cornered him in Paula’s flat, yet she had taken care of him, had driven him to the airport. Someone obviously had fingered him on the road to Salla. That could only have been done from Helsinki. Paula?

Bond switched back to the Paula connection. ‘There’re reasons why I shouldn’t believe you, Rivke,’ he began. ‘I’ve known Paula for a long time. When I last saw her, when she told me she’d confided in you, Anni Tudeer, she was very specific. She said Anni Tudeer worked with her in Helsinki.’

Rivke slowly shook her head. ‘Unless someone else is using my name . . .’

‘You’ve never worked in her world? In advertising?’

‘You’re joking. I’ve said no already. I’ve told you the story of my life. I knew Paula at school.’

‘And did she know who you were? Who your father was?’

‘Yes.’ Softly. ‘James, you can easily settle it. Call her office, check with them; ask if they have an Anni Tudeer working for them. If so, then there are two Anni Tudeers – or Paula’s lying.’ She leaned closer, speaking very distinctly, ‘I’m telling you, James, there are not two Anni Tudeers. Paula’s lying, and I would like to know why.’

‘Yes.’ Bond nodded. ‘Yes, so would I.’

It's arguable if Gardner manages to stick the landing in this book, but it's already much more coherent than the previous. There's legitimate ways to look at the current facts with multiple interpretations and try to puzzle out the truth before the reveal.


‘Then you believe me?’

‘There’s no point in you lying to me, when all the facts can be checked. I thought I knew Paula very well, but now . . . well, my instincts tell me to believe you. We can run traces, even from here, certainly from London. London already says that you’re Anni Tudeer.’ He smiled at her. She was, at close proximity, a very lovely young woman. ‘I believe you, Rivke Ingber. You’re straight Mossad, and you’ve only left one thing out – the question of vengeance. I can’t believe you simply want to atone for your father’s actions. You either want him in the bag or dead. Which is it?’

She gave a provocative little shrug. ‘It doesn’t really matter, does it? Whichever way it goes, Aarne Tudeer will die.’ The musical voice altered for a second, steel hard, then back once more to its softness, and a small laugh. ‘I’m sorry, James. I shouldn’t have tried to play games with you. Brad Tirpitz was a nuisance tonight, but, yes, I could’ve taken care of him. Maybe I’m not the professional I thought I was. I was naive enough to imagine I could con you. Lure you.’

‘Lure? Into what web?’ Bond, 99 per cent sure of Rivke’s motives and claims, still kept that tiny 1 per cent of wariness in reserve.

‘Not a web, exactly.’ She put out a hand, fingers resting in Bond’s palm. ‘To be honest, I don’t feel safe with either Tirpitz or Kolya. I wanted to be sure you’d be on my side.’

Bond let go of her hand, placing his own fingers lightly on her shoulders. ‘We’re in the business of trust, Rivke; and we both need it from someone, because I’m not happy with this set-up any more than you are. First things first, though. I have to ask you this, simply because I suspect it: do you know, for certain, that your father’s mixed up with the NSAA?’

You are most certainly not in the business of trust!


She did not pause to think. ‘Yes. For certain.’

‘How do you know?’

‘That’s why I’m here; it’s why I was put on this job. Back in Israel the people on the ground began computer analysis immediately after the first National Socialist Action Army incident. It was natural they should look at the old leaders – the former Party members, the SS, and those who’d escaped from Germany. Several names came up. My father was high on the list. You’ll have to take my word for the rest, but Mossad has evidence that he is tied in very closely. It’s not coincidence that the arms are coming out of Russia through Finland. He’s here, James – new name, almost a new face, the whole business of a new identity. There’s a new mistress as well. He’s spry and tough enough, even at his age. I know he’s here.’

‘A game bird.’ Bond gave a wry smile.

‘And game is in season, James. My dear father’s well in season. Mother used to say that he saw himself as a new Führer, a Nazi Moses, there to lead his children back to their promised land. Well, the children are growing in strength, and the world’s in such a mess that the young, or the pliable, will lap up any half-baked ideology. You only have to look at your own country . . .’

Bond bridled. ‘Which has yet to elect, or allow, a madman into power. There’s a stiff backbone there that will eventually – sometimes a little late, I admit – get matters straight.’

Nobody tell him.


She gave a friendly pout. ‘Okay, I’m sorry. All countries have their faults.’ Rivke bit her lip, her mind drifting off-course for a few seconds. ‘Please, James. I do have an edge, privileged information if you like. I need you on my side.’

Go along with it, Bond thought. Even though you are almost sure, take every bit of the bait, but hold back the 1 per cent and remain alert. Aloud he said, ‘All right. But what about the others? Brad and Kolya?’

‘Brad and Kolya are both playing death and glory games, and I’m not certain if they’re doing it together or against each other. They’re serious enough yet not serious enough. Does that sound stupid? A paradox? It’s true. Watch them.’ She looked straight into his eyes, as though trying to hypnotise him. ‘Look, I get the feeling – and it’s only intuition – that either the CIA or the KGB has something it wants to bury. Something to do with the NSAA.’

‘I’d put my money on it being Kolya,’ Bond replied lightly.’ The KGB asked us in, after all. The KGB came to us – to the USA, Israel and the UK. I suppose it’s possible they’ve found more than a simple arms leak to the National Socialist Action Army. That may be part of it, but what if there’s more? Something hideous?’



Rivke shifted her chair closer to the end of the bed where Bond sat. ‘You mean if they’ve found themselves with an arms leak, and some other funny business that’s going to look very bad? Something they can’t contain?’

‘It’s a theory. Plausible enough.’ She was so close that Bond could smell her: the traces of her scent, plus the natural odour of an attractive woman.

Okay, William Control.


‘Only a theory,’ he repeated. ‘But it’s possible. This is all out of character for the KGB. They’re usually so closed up. Now they come and ask for help. Could they be pulling us in? Having us for suckers? So that, when the truth – whatever it is – comes spewing out, we’ll be implicated. Israel, America and Britain will all take the blame. It’s devious enough for them.’

‘Fall guys.’ Rivke spoke softly again.

‘Yes. Fall guys.’ Bond wondered what his old and ultraconservative-minded chief would make of the expression. M hated slang in any form.

Not his fault he's like 150 now.


Rivke said if there was even a possibility of a KGB plot to discredit them, it would be wise to make a pact now to stick together. ‘We really do have to watch each other’s backs, even if the theory doesn’t hold.’

Bond gave Rivke his most charming smile, leaning close, his lips only inches from her mouth. ‘You’re quite right, Rivke. Though I’d be much happier watching your front.’

Her lips, in return, seemed to be examining his mouth. Then: ‘I don’t frighten easily, James, but this has got me twitchy . . .’ Her arms came up, winding around his neck, and their lips brushed, first in a light caress. Bond’s conscience nagged at him to take care. But the warnings were cauterised in the conflagration as their lips touched.

"Twitchy" is apparently Israeli slang for "horny."


It seemed an eternity before their mouths parted, and Rivke, panting, clung on to Bond, her breath warm near his ear as she murmured endearments. Slowly, he drew her from the chair on to the bed where they lay close, body to body, then mouth to mouth once more, until together, as though at some inaudible signal, their hands groped for one another.

What began as a kind of lust, or an act of need – two people alone, and responding to a natural desire for comfort and trust – slowly became tender, gentle, even truly loving.

Bond, still vaguely aware of the tiny remaining doubt in the back of his head, was quickly lost in this lovely creature, whose limbs and body seemed to respond to his own in an almost telepathic way. They were as two perfectly attuned dancers, able to predict each other’s moves.

Only later, with Rivke curled up under the covers, like a child in his arms, did they speak again of work. For them, the brief hours they had spent together had been but a short retreat from the harsh reality of their profession. Now it was after eight in the morning. Another day, another scramble through the dangers of the secret world.

‘For the sake of this operation, then, we work together.’ Bond’s mouth was unusually dry. ‘That’ll cover both of us . . .’ bodily fluids.


‘Yes, and . . .’

‘And I’ll help you see SS-Oberführer Tudeer in hell.’

‘Oh please, James darling. Please.’ She looked up at him, her face puckered in a smile that spoke only of pleasure – no malice, or horror, even though she was already pleading for the death of her hated father. Then the mood changed again: a serenity, the laugh in her eyes, and at the corners of her mouth. ‘You know, this is the last thing I thought would happen . . .’

‘Come on, Rivke. You don’t arrive in a man’s room at four in the morning, dressed in practically nothing, without the thought crossing your mind.’

‘Oh,’ she laughed aloud, ‘the thought was there. It’s just that I didn’t really believe it would happen. I imagined you were much too professional, and I thought I too was so determined and well-trained that I could resist anything.’ Her voice went small. ‘I did go for you, the moment I saw you, but don’t let it go to your head.’

‘It didn’t.’ Bond laughed.

It did.


The laugh had hardly died when he reached over for the telephone. ‘Time to see if we can get something out of our so-called friend Paula.’ He began to dial the apartment in Helsinki, while casting an admiring eye over Rivke as she put on the film of silk which passed as a nightdress.

At the other end of the line, the telephone rang. Nobody answered. ‘What do you make of it, Rivke?’ Bond put down the telephone. ‘She’s not there.’

Rivke shook her head. ‘You’ll ring her office, of course – but I don’t understand any of it. I used to know her well enough, but why lie about me? It doesn’t make sense; and you say she was a good friend . . .’

‘For a long time. I certainly didn’t spot anything sinister about her. None of it makes sense.’ Bond was on his feet now, walking towards the sliding louvred doors of the wardrobe. His quilted jacket hung inside, and he took the two medals from the pocket, tossing them across the room so that they jangled on to the bed. This would be the last throw in any present round of suspicion. ‘What d’you think about those, darling?’

That was absolutely Moore's voice.


Rivke’s hand went out and she held the medals for a moment, then let out a tiny cry, dropping them back on to the bed as though they were red hot.

‘Where?’ The one word was enough: delivered fast, like a shot.

‘In Paula Vacker’s flat. Lying on the dressing table.’

All humour had gone from Rivke. ‘I haven’t seen these since I was a child.’ Her hand went out to the Knight’s Cross and she picked it up again, turning it over. ‘You see? His name is engraved on the back. My father’s Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. In Paula’s apartment?’ The last with complete bewilderment and disbelief.

‘Right there on the dressing table, for anyone to see.’

She dropped the medal back on to the bed and came towards him, throwing her arms around his neck. ‘I thought I knew it all, James; but what’s it really about? Why Paula? Why the lies? Why my father’s Knight’s Cross and the Northern Campaign Shield – he was particularly proud of that one, by the way – but why?’

Bond held her close. ‘We’ll find out. Don’t worry. I’m as concerned as you. Paula always seemed so . . . well, level. Straight.’

Unusually willing to skip straight to drinks and sex after a murder attempt.


After a minute or so, Rivke drew away. ‘I have to clear my head, James. Will you come down the ski run with me?’

He made a negative gesture. ‘I’ve got to see Brad and Kolya; and I thought we were going to watch out for each other . . .’

‘I just have to get out there in the open for a while.’ She hesitated before adding, ‘Darling James, I’ll be okay. Back in time for breakfast. Make my apologies if I’m a bit late.’

‘For heaven’s sake be careful.’

Rivke gave a little nod. Then shyly, ‘That was all quite something, Mr Bond. It could become a habit.’

‘I hope so.’ Bond pulled her to him, and they kissed by the door.

When she had gone, he turned back to the bed, bending down to retrieve Aarne Tudeer’s medals. The scent of her was everywhere, and she still seemed very close.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 8: Tirpitz


James Bond was profoundly disturbed. All but one tiny doubt told him that Rivke Ingber was absolutely trustworthy, just who she said she was: the daughter of Aarne Tudeer; the girl who had taken to the Jewish faith, and was now – even according to London – a Mossad agent. There was a sense of shock, however, at the mystery of Paula Vacker. She had been close to Bond over the years, never giving him the least cause to think of her as anything but an intelligent, fun-loving, hard-working girl who excelled in her job. But set against Rivke, and recent events, Paula appeared suddenly to have feet of melting wax.

Rather more slowly than usual, Bond showered, shaved and dressed – in heavy cavalry twill slacks, a cable-knit black rollneck and short leather jacket, to hide the P7, which, after checking the mechanism, he strapped in place. He added a pair of spare magazines, clipping them into the specially sewn-in pocket at the back of his slacks.

This gear, with soft leather moccasins on his feet, would be warm enough inside the hotel and, as he left the room, Bond made a vow that from now on he would go nowhere without the weapon.

With the life you live, shouldn't you have caught on to that years ago?


In the corridor, he paused, glancing at his Rolex. It was already nearly nine-thirty. Paula’s office would be open. He returned to the room to dial Helsinki – this time the office number. The same operator who had greeted him on the day of that fateful call, which seemed so long ago now, answered in Finnish.

Bond spoke in English, and the operator complied, just as she had done previously. He asked for Paula Vacker and the reply came back – sharp, final, and, surprisingly to Bond, not entirely unexpected.

‘I’m sorry. Miss Vacker is on holiday.’

‘Oh?’ he feigned disappointment. ‘I promised to get in touch with her. I suppose you’ve no idea where she’s gone?’

The operator asked him to wait a moment. ‘We’re not sure of the exact location,’ she told him at last, ‘but she said something about going to get some skiing up north – too cold for me. It’s bad enough here.’

That's all Bond needs to know. He's up north.


His room was at the rear of the building, and from it he had a clear view of the chair lift, with the ski run, and the curve of the jump. Tiny figures, taking advantage of the short spell of daylight and the clear atmosphere, were boarding the endlessly moving lift, while high above, outlined like black speeding insects against the snow, others made the long descent, curving in speed-checking traverses, or racing straight on the fall line, with bodies crouched forward, knees bent.

Rivke, Bond thought, could well be one of those dots schussing down over the pure sparkling white landscape. He could almost feel the exhilaration of a straight downhill run and, for a second, wished he had gone with her. Then, with one last glance at the snowscape, relieved only by the skiers, the movement of the chair lift, and the great banks of fir trees sweeping away on either side, green and brown, decorated like Christmas trees by the heavy frozen snow, he rose, left the room and headed down to the main dining room.

This ski resort is a few hundred miles further north, but matches Bond's environment perfectly.


Brad Tirpitz sat alone at a corner table near the windows, looking out on the same view Bond had just observed from higher in the building. He spotted Bond’s arrival and nonchalantly raised an arm in a combination of greeting and identification.

What's important about his name being "Tirpitz"?

The Tirpitz and Bismarck, sister ships, are the two most famous German naval vessels of World War II.


‘Hi, Bond.’ The rock-like face cracked slightly. ‘Kolya sends his apologies. Been delayed organising some snow scooters.’ He leaned closer. ‘It’s tonight apparently – or in the early hours of tomorrow, if you want to be accurate.’

‘What’s tonight?’ Bond responded stiffly, the perfect caricature of the reserved Englishman.

What’s tonight?’ Tirpitz raised his eyes to heaven. ‘Tonight, friend Bond, Kolya says a load of arms is coming out of Blue Hare – you remember Blue Hare? Their ordnance depot near Alakurtii?’

‘Oh that.’ Bond gave the impression that the theft of arms from Blue Hare was the last thing to interest him. Picking up the menu, he immersed himself in the long list of dishes available. When the waiter appeared, he merely rattled off his usual order, underlining his need for a very large cup of coffee.

‘Mind if I smoke?’ Tirpitz was laconic to the point of speaking like an Indian sign.

‘As long as you don’t mind me eating.’ Bond did not smile. Perhaps it was his background in the Royal Navy, and working all those years close to M, but he considered smoking while someone else ate to be only a fraction above smoking before the Loyal Toast.

In polite company, even in the 1950s, it was still generally considered rude and uncouth to smoke during a meal. Lighting up was something to be done after the meal, when proper ashtrays could be brought out and any non-smokers could find somewhere else to be.


‘Look, Bond.’ Tirpitz moved his chair closer. ‘I’m glad Kolya’s not here. Wanted a word with you alone.’


‘Got a message for you. Felix Leiter sends his best. And Cedar sends her love.’

Bond felt a slight twinge of surprise, but he showed no reaction. His best friend in the USA, Felix Leiter, had once been a top CIA man; while Felix’s daughter, Cedar, was also Company-trained. In fact, Cedar had worked gallantly with him on a recent assignment.

"Let me tell you, Tirpitz, that was a weird as hell kind of day."


'I know you don’t trust me,’ Tirpitz continued, ‘but you’d better think again, brother. Think again, because maybe I’m the only friend you have around here.’

Bond nodded. ‘Maybe.’

‘Your chief gave you a good solid briefing. I was briefed at Langley. We both probably had the same information, and Kolya wasn’t letting it all out of the bag. What I’m saying is that we need to work together. Close as we can. That Russian bastard isn’t coming up with all the goodies, and I figure he has some surprises ready for us.’

‘I thought we were all working together?’ Bond made it sound bland, urbane.

‘Don’t trust anyone – except me.’ Tirpitz, though he had taken out a packet of cigarettes, made no attempt to light up. There was a pause while the waiter brought Bond’s scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee. When he had gone, Tirpitz continued. ‘Look, if I hadn’t spoken up in Madeira, the biggest threat wouldn’t even have been mentioned – this phony Count. You’ve had the dope on him, same as me. Konrad von Glöda. Kolya wasn’t going to give him to us. D’you know why?’

‘Tell me.’

‘Because Kolya’s working two sides of the street. Some elements of the KGB are mixed up in this business of arms thefts. Our people in Moscow gave us that weeks ago. It’s only just been cleared for consumption by London. You’ll probably get some kind of signal in due course.’

‘What’s the story, then?’ It was Bond who played it laconically now. Brad Tirpitz appeared to be confirming the theory already discussed with Rivke.

‘Like a fairy tale.’ Tirpitz gave a growling laugh. ‘The word from Moscow is that a dissatisfied faction of senior KGB people – a very small cell – have got themselves mixed up with a similarly dissatisfied Red Army splinter group.’ These two bodies, Tirpitz maintained, made contact with the nucleus of what was later to emerge as the National Socialist Action Army.

The Red Army Faction, or Baader–Meinhof Group, was briefly mentioned in Gardner's first book. They were a far-left militant group formed in West Germany in 1970 (and, as discovered after the reunification, funded by the Stasi) and immediately began an infamous spree of assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, and robberies. While not the most destructive terrorist group in Europe at the time, they're certainly the most well-known.

It all came to a head in 1977. First the RAF assassinated Siegfried Buback, the Attorney General of West Germany. Then they tried to kidnap Jürgen Ponto, chairman of the board of directors of Dresden Bank. Then not only did the RAF kidnap and murder German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer, but Lufthansa Flight 181 was hijacked at the same time by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to secure the release of RAF prisoners. It seemed like attacks would be endless...until GSG-9 took out the Lufthansa hijackers and rescued the passengers. All of the incarcerated RAF members committed suicide immediately, though conspiracy theories suggest they were murdered.

The RAF lost much of their prominence after the 1970s. They continued with assassinations and bombings into the 90s, but not at the same clip. In 1998, a letter on RAF letterhead was faxed to Reuters announcing the official dissolution of the group.


‘They’re idealists, of course,’ said Tirpitz, chuckling. ‘Fanatics. Men working within the USSR to subvert the Communist ideal by Fascist terrorism. They were behind the first arms theft from Blue Hare, and they got caught, up to a point . . .’

‘What point?’

‘They got caught, but the full facts never came out. They’re like the Mafia – or ourselves, come to that. Your people look after their own, don’t they?’

‘Only when they can get away with it.’ Bond forked some egg into his mouth, reaching for the toast.

"Sometimes they send you on impossible missions just to see what happens."


‘Well, the boys in Dzerzhinsky Square have so far managed to keep the army man who caught them out at Blue Hare as sweet as a nut. What’s more, they’re conducting this combined clandestine operation with one of their own in the driving seat – Kolya Mosolov.’

‘What you’re saying is that Kolya’s going to fail?’ Bond turned, looking Tirpitz full in the face.

‘He’s not only going to fail, he’s going to make sure the next shipment gets out. After that, it’ll look as though Comrade Mosolov got himself killed among all this snow and ice. Then guess who’s going to be left holding the bucket?’

‘Us?’ Bond suggested.

‘Technically us, yes. In fact, the plan is for it to be you, friend Bond. Kolya’s body’ll never be found. I suspect yours will. Of course Kolya’ll eventually rise from the grave. Another name, another face, another part of the forest.’

Bond nodded energetically. ‘That’s more or less what I thought. I didn’t think Kolya was taking me into the Soviet Union to watch arms being lifted just for the fun of it.’

Don't lie. You absolutely would have blundered into an obvious trap without being told.


Tirpitz gave a humourless smile. ‘Like you, buddy, I really have seen it all: Berlin, the Cold War, Nam, Laos, Cambodia. This is the triple cross of all time. You need me, brother . . .’

‘And I suspect you need me too . . . er, brother.’

‘Right. If you play it my way, do it the way I ask – as the Company asks – while you’re playing snowman on the other side of the border; if you do that, I’ll watch your back, and make sure we both end up in one piece.’

‘Before I ask what I’m supposed to do, there’s one important question.’ Bond had ceased to be bemused by the conversation. First Rivke had wanted a favour from him, now Tirpitz: it added a new dimension to Operation Icebreaker. Nobody trusted the next person. All wanted at least one ally, who, Bond suspected, would be ditched or stabbed in the back at the first hint of trouble.

Now we just need a chapter for Kolya doing the same thing!


‘Yeah?’ Tirpitz prodded, and Bond realised he had been distracted by some newly arrived guests who were being treated like royalty by the waiters.

I'm sure they won't matter.


‘What about Rivke? That’s what I wanted to ask. Are we leaving her in the cold with Kolya?’

Brad Tirpitz looked astounded. ‘Bond,’ he said quietly, ‘Rivke Ingber may well be a Mossad agent, but you do know who she is, I take it. I mean, your Service must have told you . . .’

‘The estranged daughter of a Finnish officer who went along with the Nazis, and is still on the wanted war criminals list? Yes.’

‘Yes and no.’ Tirpitz’s voice rose. ‘Sure, we all know about that bastard of a father. But nobody has any real idea about which side of the line the girl stands – not even Mossad. The likes of us haven’t been told that part, but I’ve seen her Mossad PF. I’m telling you, even they don’t know.’

Bond spoke calmly. ‘I’m afraid I believe she’s genuine – completely loyal to Mossad.’

Tirpitz made an irritated little noise. ‘Okay, believe away, Bond; but what about the man?’

‘The man?’

‘The so-called Count Konrad von Glöda. The guy who’s behind the arms shipments and is probably running the whole NSAA operation – correction, almost certainly running the whole NSAA Reichführer-SS von Glöda.’

‘What about him?’

‘You mean nobody at your end gave you the full picture?’

Nobody is giving anybody the full picture!


Bond shrugged. M had been precise and detailed in his briefing, but stressed that there were certain matters about the mysterious Count von Glöda which could not be proved. M, being the stickler he was, refused to take mere probability as fact.

‘Brother, you’re in trouble. Rivke Ingber’s deranged and estranged Papa, SS-Oberführer Aarne Tudeer, is also the Ice King of this little saga. Aarne Tudeer is the Count von Glöda: an apt name.’

Bond moistened his lips with coffee, his brain racing. If Tirpitz was giving him correct information, London had not even suggested it. All M had provided was the name, the possibility that he was behind at least the arms running, and the fact that the Count almost certainly arranged staging posts, between the Soviet border and the final jumping-off point, for the arms supplies. There had been no mention of von Glöda being Tudeer.

‘You’re certain of this?’ Bond refused to show anything but nonchalant calm.

‘Sure as night follows day – which is pretty fast around here . . .’ Tirpitz stopped abruptly as he looked across the dining room, his gaze resting on the couple who had come in to such an enthusiastic welcome.

‘Well, what do you know?’ The corners of Tirpitz’s mouth turned down even further. ‘Take a look, Bond. That’s the man himself. The Count Konrad von Glöda, and his lady, known simply as the Countess.’ He gulped some coffee. ‘I said it was an apt name. In Swedish, Glöda means Glow. At Langley we gave him the cryptonym Glow-worm. He glows with gold from old Nazi pickings, and all he must be raking in now as Commander of the NSAA; and he’s also a worm. I am personally going to bottle that specimen.’

The villain just walks in for dinner?


The couple certainly looked distinguished. Bond had seen the heavy and expensive fur coats borne away when they had arrived. Now they even sat as though they owned Lapland, looking almost like a Renaissance prince and his lady.

Konrad von Glöda was tall and well-muscled. He held himself straight as a lath. He was also one of those men whom age does not weary. He could be an old-looking fifty or a very young seventy, for it was impossible to calculate the age of a man whose face and bone structure were so fine and bronzed. He sported a full head of iron-grey hair, and as he talked to the Countess he leaned back in his chair, using one hand for gestures while the other was draped over the chair arm. The brown face, glowing with health, had about it an animation which would not have been out of place in that of a thrusting young executive, and there was no doubt, from the glittering grey eyes to the aristrocratic sharp chin and arrogant tilt of the head, that this was a man to be reckoned with. Glow was the word.

That age range puts him exactly where a fleeing Nazi war criminal would be in the 1980s.


‘Star quality?’ Tirpitz whispered.

Bond gave a small nod. You had only to see the man to know he possessed that sought-for quality: charisma.

The Countess also carried herself with the air of one who had the means, and ability, to buy or take anything she wanted. She was, despite the impossibility of guessing the Count’s age, obviously much younger than her partner. She too had the look of a person who prized her body and its physical condition. She gave the impression of one to whom all sport, and exercise, came as second nature. Bond observed the woman’s smooth-skinned beauty, the svelte grooming of her dark hair, and the classic features and reflected that this would certainly include the oldest of indoor sports.

Ah, gambling.


Bond was still covertly watching the couple when a waiter came hurrying over to the table. ‘Mr Bond?’ he asked.

Bond nodded.

‘There’s a telephone call for you, sir. In the box by the reception desk. A Miss Paula Vacker wishes to speak to you.’

Bond was on his feet quickly, catching the slightly quizzical look in Brad Tirpitz’s eye.

‘Problems?’ Tirpitz’s voice appeared to have softened, but Bond refused to react. ‘Bad’ Brad, he decided, should be treated with a caution reserved for rattlesnakes.



‘Just a call from Helsinki.’ He began to move, inwardly bewildered that Paula could have found him here.

As he passed the von Glödas’ table, Bond allowed himself a straight, seemingly disinterested, glance at the couple. The Count himself raised his head, catching Bond’s eye. The look was one of near tangible malice: a hatred which Bond could feel long after he had passed the table, as though the Count’s glittering grey eyes were boring into the back of his head.

Almost like he knows who they are...


The receptionist indicated a small, half-open booth containing a telephone. Bond was there in two strides, lifting the receiver and speaking immediately.


‘One moment,’ from the operator. There was a click on the line, and the sense that someone was on the other end.

‘Paula?’ he repeated.

If questioned then, Bond could not have sworn on oath that it was Paula’s voice, though he would have claimed a 90 per cent certainty. Unusually for the Finnish telephone system, the line was not good, the voice seeming hollow, as though from an echo chamber.

‘James,’ the voice said. ‘Any minute now, I should imagine. Say goodbye to Anni.’ There followed a long and eerie laugh, which trailed away, as though Paula were deliberately moving the receiver from her lips, then slowly returning it to its cradle.

These Nazis are such loving drama queens.


Bond’s brow creased, a concern building quickly inside him. ‘Paula? Is that you . . . ?’ He stopped, knowing there was no point in talking into a dead instrument. Say goodbye to Anni . . . What on earth? Then it struck him. Rivke was on the ski run. Or maybe she hadn’t even reached it. Bond raced for the main doors of the hotel.

His hand was already outstretched when a voice behind him snapped, ‘Don’t even think of it, Bond. Not dressed like that.’ Brad Tirpitz was at his shoulder. ‘You’d last less than five minutes out there. It’s well below freezing.’

‘Get me some gear, and fast, Brad.’

‘Get your own. What in hell’s the matter?’ Tirpitz took a step towards the cloakroom near Reception.

Is he called "Bad Brad" because he's bad at teamwork?


‘I’ll explain later. Rivke’s out on the ski run, and I’ve a hunch she’s in danger.’ It crossed his mind that Rivke Ingber might not, after all, be on the slopes. Paula had said, ‘Any minute now, I should imagine,’ Whatever was planned could have already happened.

Tirpitz was back, his own outdoor clothes grasped in his arms – boots, scarf, goggles, gloves and padded jacket. ‘Just tell me’, the voice commanding, ‘and I’ll do what I can. Go get your own stuff. I always play safe and keep the winter gear close at hand.’ Already he was kicking off his shoes and pulling boots on. There was obviously no arguing with Tirpitz.

Bond turned towards the row of lifts. ‘If Rivke’s on the slopes, just get her down fast, and in one piece,’ he shouted, banging at the button. On reaching his room, Bond took less than three minutes to get into outdoor clothes. As he made the change, he glanced constantly out of the window, towards the chair lift and ski slopes. Everything appeared normal, as it did when he finally reached the bottom of the chair lift outside, just six minutes after leaving Reception.

Most people had already made their way back into the hotel: the best time for skiing was over. Bond recognised the figure of Brad Tirpitz standing near the hut at the bottom of the lift, with a couple of others. ‘Well?’ Bond asked.

‘I got them to telephone the top. Her name’s on the list. She’s on her way down now. She’s wearing a crimson ski suit. Give me the full dope on this, Bond. Is it to do with the op?’

‘Later.’ Bond craned, narrowing his eyes behind the goggles, searching the upward sheen of snow for a sight of Rivke.

The only part of the run Bond and Tirpitz can see from here is the last half-kilometer, a straight and gentle slope to the bottom.


Bond raised the glasses. Rivke was obviously very good, side-slipping and traversing the steep slope, coming out of it into a straight run, slowing as the snow flattened, then gathering a little speed as she breasted the rise and began to follow the fall line down the long final slope. She had just touched the run out, less than half a kilometre away from them, when the snow seemed to boil on either side of her, and a great white mist rose behind. In the centre of the blossom of fine snow, a sudden fire – red, then white – flashed upwards.

The sound of the muffled crump reached them a second after Bond saw Rivke’s body turning over in mid air, thrown up with the exploding snow.


Feb 21, 2010

John "Black Jack" Pershing
Hard Fucking Core

Bond stuntman Rémy Julienne dead at 90

Here he is dodging missiles in a tanker truck.

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