A young boy, Victor, is collected from school by a stranger in a bowler hat - the stranger says he has won Victor in a game of backgammon with Victor's father. The stranger, known as the Captain, takes Victor to live with the sweet but withdrawn Lisa, where he serves as her conduit to the outside world. From mysterious beginnings, Graham Greene's ...Read MoreA young boy, Victor, is collected from school by a stranger in a bowler hat - the stranger says he has won Victor in a game of backgammon with Victor's father. The stranger, known as the Captain, takes Victor to live with the sweet but withdrawn Lisa, where he serves as her conduit to the outside world. From mysterious beginnings, Graham Greene's final novel becomes a twisting thriller of smuggling, jewel theft and international espionage which culminates in a dramatic showdown in Panama.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 1989-07-21 Victor Baxter was adopted, possibly kidnapped, at age 12 into a strange family as a substitute for a child who died. As he grows older, he becomes involved in some of the suspicious enterprises of his foster father, ``The Captain,'' an apparent gunrunner. PW called this novel ``exquisitely understated, moving and graced by humorous touches.'' (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1988-08-05 Exquisitely understated, moving and graced by humorous touches, Greene's new novel draws the reader into intriguing events related by narrator Victor Baxter. Now age 28, he tells of his 12th birthday when a stranger, ``The Captain,'' takes him from school on an outing from which he never returns. The man says he won Victor from ``the Devil, your father,'' and brings him to live in a drab London flat with Liza, who has lost a child. It's all right with the boy; his mother is dead and Baxter Sr. doesn't want him. He obeys the Captain's wishes to change his name to Jim and become Liza's son. Life with substitute parents is interrupted by the Captain's frequent absences on ``jobs'' that bring detectives to question the little family about money the Captain has sent them, but he remains free to pursue his suspicious enterprises. After many years, during a time when the adventurer has been on a secret operation in Panama, a letter arrives asking Liza to join him. Jim goes instead, however, for reasons he doesn't explain to the Captain, now known as Smith. A sly American called Quigly and others are dangerously interested in father and son. There is a shocking end to the story, whose core, revealed gradually through layers of mystery, speculates on the nature of love and the omnipotence of ``the enemy,'' and has an unexpected connection to contemporary events. 40,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate. (October)
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