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Tanner's Twelve Swingers
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Sometime spy Evan Tanner has accepted impossible assignments for many reasons: money, thrills, to have something to occupy his waking hours (twenty-four of them every day, in fact, since battlefield shrapnel obliterated his brain's sleep center). But this might be the first time he's put his life on the line . . . for love. Tanner's agreed to smuggle a sexy Latvian gymnast--the lost lady love of a heart-sick friend--out of Russia. With the Cold War at its chilliest and the Iron Curtain slammed shut, this will not be easy, especially since everybody in Eastern Europe, it seems, wants to tag along, including a subversive Slav author and the six-year-old heir to the nonexistent Lithuanian throne. But that's not the biggest hurdle. The gymnast refuses to budge unless Tanner rescues her eleven delightfully limber teammates as well--and that might be raising the bar too lethally high for even the ever-resourceful Evan Tanner to clear.
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Block's anarchic adventurer finds himself escaping both from and into Communist countries in this 1967 novel. The multilingual Evan Tanner begins by helping a Yugoslav politician escape with a subversive manuscript taped to the American's body. But getting out of Yugoslavia is only the first stage of a complex route taking them to the Soviet Union where Tanner acquires a Lithuanian orphan (heir to her country's long-lost throne), 12 Latvian gymnasts, a highly coveted Soviet plane, and some Chinese microfilm, all of which he must somehow transport to the United States. Hearing him do so requires wading through some comparatively dry patches, but the payoff is worth it. The yarn's Cold War elements, occasionally satirized by Block, have a nostalgic charm. As with The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep, Nick Sullivan is a master of accents and a tongue-in-cheek tone. Recommended for public libraries.ÄMichael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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