Harcourt, Oct 2002, 14.00, 481 pp.
During World War II, British intelligence hires Andrea Aspinall, a mathematical wizard who thinks numbers are perfect. Andrea is to use her numerical skills to learn German atomic weaponry secrets. In Lisbon, Andrea vanishes under a new identity. She also meets German attaché Karl Voss, who believes the Nazis are losing the war and destroying Germany in their efforts to keep fighting. Karl and Andrea share a delightful night of lovemaking while violence flares everywhere.
However, by morning's light Andrea has a secret to hide and an addict's thirst for more clandestine operations even if espionage is such an imperfect realm to this numerical expert. As the war ends and the Cold War heats up in places like divided Berlin, Andrea remains a prime player, whose past will soon catch up to her.
Andrea is the numero uno of this exciting espionage thriller. From the beginning readers understand her as she joyfully explains the world in terms of the perfection of mathematical systems even if she fails to include the number six as a divisor into itself. The story line spans several decades, but though interesting and insightful also acts like a suspense thinner. Still readers will enjoy this action packed tale mindful of The Third Man because the novel contains people, including those individuals still out in the cold, that seem real. Readers will enjoy THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS and seek other works from Robert Wilson (see A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner