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1960s-set spy romp
on 3 January 2014
A nuclear arms race kicks off in the Middle East in the late 1960s, as Israeli intelligence finds out that the Soviet Union is secretly funding atomic development in Egypt. To counterbalance this, Israel would need to make its own bomb, and with this in mind a top Israeli agent is detailed to come up with a plan to steal uranium.
Over the course of this, he encounters a couple of old acquaintances from his time at Oxford University in the 1940s - one of whom is now a top KGB agent, the other a Palestinian whose family lost everything when Israel was created, and who works for the Egyptian secret service (as you do). Both have vested interests in making sure that Israel doesn't get the uranium.
This is apparently based loosely on a true story. There are a few rather unlikely coincidences that keep the plot ticking along - the fact that the Israeli just happens to run into the Palestinian while carrying out part of his mission in Luxemburg, for example.
Read today, it does seem dated but it does convey a kind of period charm with its use of phoneboxes to aid the tailing of spies and the notion that stealing data from an international agency dedicated to the tracking of uranium involves blackmailing an employee to steal a paper file. Still, not a bad read.