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The Loo Sanction (1973)
Art historian and international counter assassin Dr. Jonathan Hemlock is back! After the bloody Eiger Sanction he is trying to live in quiet retirement, but the Loo department of British Intelligence has one more job for him and they're not above blackmailing him into it. They want him to get to Maximillian Strange, an evil beauty-obsessed Anglophobe who is blackmailing the numerous British officials he has filmed in compromising positions at his bizarre bordello, The Cloisters.
Hemlock is a hip 70's antihero. As one art thief friend describes him: "My comrades on the continent shared my curiosity about you at first, and we pooled our fragments of information. Bits and pieces that never seemed to form a whole picture. You had this gift, this eye that made it possible for you to spot a fake at a glance. But the rest didn't make much sense. University professor. Critic and writer. Collector of black market paintings. Mountain climber. Employed in some kind of nasty government business. Frigging enigma, that's what you are..."
Long before Austin Powers: Man of Mystery, Trevanian deconstructed the spy novel and put it back together in these sly, snarky Sanction books; a vastly enjoyable light read.
-The Novels of Trevanian
-Publishers Weekly Interview