The first in a series of novels tracing the progress of the Cold War and its impact on the way we live. The action ranges from Cambridge to London, ... Show synopsis The first in a series of novels tracing the progress of the Cold War and its impact on the way we live. The action ranges from Cambridge to London, Berlin to Moscow, Helsinki to Washington, and the events, issues and tensions of the period are sharply defined. After the war, the Russians are racing to catch up with the West in the nuclear arms race, and a complicated plot is hatched by Andropov. He blackmails Ruth, a Russian physicist who is romantically involved with Stevens a nuclear physicist from Cambridge, into fronting an association of scientists concerned at the lack of safeguards in the Russian nuclear industry. The aim is to mislead their Western counterparts into thinking that they (the Russians) are further behind than they actually are. To make sure that the scientists are really concerned, a laboratory handling nuclear materials is deliberately blown up, along with the neighbouring block of flats. Struggling to make sense of this are Monty, a cynical Whitehall spook, Danny the son of Stevens and Ruth herself.