No Way Out

The basic premise of this book is that a secret agent, Tony Harris, has apparently decided to try and quit the occupation, and John Drake is sent to find him and convince him to return-or kill him.

In this 1966 book, John Drake goes to Macao to find Tony Harrris. What follows is an exciting, sometimes complicated action adventure. It seems at times to tie in to the Prisoner series which followed later, especially in a discussion between Drake and one of the officials of World Travel, the front organization for the spies:

"We don't quit because we're not allowed it. We know too much. We cannot be permitted to leave the service...alive."

On the way to Macao, Drake is used by a man to smuggle a valuable diamond, although in the end he receives help from the same man in saving his own life. Drake is captured, several times, and has to fight a huge hulk of a man, who happens to take great glee in using a knife on a person. The head of a Mafia-type organization has a daughter who married Tony Harris, who is now smuggling gold for his father-in-law.Oruro, the crime head, tries to bribe Drake with money and women, and is turned down. Again, later in the book, another prophetic quote is given about spies never being able to retire-alive.

In one particularly exciting sequence, Drake escapes from a room in some building where he is about to be knifed to death, manages to get to Oruro's mansion, has to fight off a Bengal tiger, escapes from that into a room where he is immediately confronted by the knife-killer and Oruro.

In the end, Drake is about to bring his friend home when another man kills Harris, and Drake has to return alone.

Throughout the book, no matter how difficult a spot Drake gets into, he uses his weapon very sparingly.

Overall, the book is quite enjoyable reading, and offers a very considerable difference from the James Bond-type of adventure.

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