Picks and Pans Review: A Matter of Honor

updated 08/18/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/18/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Jeffrey Archer

The author—a former member of the House of Commons who has written best-selling family sagas and novels about money, power and British politics—has now produced a spy-adventure tale. Like his other books, it is so superficial that the minute it is closed it's difficult to recall what took place. The hero has the comic-strip name of Adam Scott. His father was disgraced shortly after World War II because of an incident involving Hermann Goering. Adam's army career stalls because of his father's reputation, so he quits and begins hunting a job. When his father dies the will includes a curious document that sets Scott off on a collision course with a nasty KGB agent named Romanov. The agent has been told to get hold of an icon of St. George and the dragon that will prove Alaska still belongs to Russia. Women are brutally murdered. Romanov learns that he has inherited a fortune in jewels that his grandfather secretly deposited in a Swiss bank. Among these jewels are "pearls of such quality that one single strand of them would have transformed a plain girl into a society beauty." The hero, who gets hold of the icon, hides it in the Louvre, is tortured by the KGB to reveal its whereabouts but escapes in a most perfunctory manner. None of this makes much sense. Archer is attempting an imitation of those British masters of the genre, Le Carré, Len Deighton and Ken Follett. A Matter of Honor doesn't even measure up to Robert Ludlum. (Linden, $18.95)

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