- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Evan Tanner is a most unusual character, even for Block. Tanner survived the Korean War, but returned with a bit of sharpnel lodged in his brain, specifically in his sleep center. Therefore, he never sleeps – ever.
What does he do with all his time? Well, he has learned a smattering of just about every language and he has joined just about every group supporting every lost cause that could ever be imagined, whether its Macedonian independence, Lithuanian independence, Free the Whales, the IRA, and, of course, as relevant to this particular story, Free Quebec.
His contacts with all of these independence and subversive groups gives Tanner contacts all over the world, contacts he has memorized in his incredible mind. It also leads to trouble because foreign governments are often uncomfortable with his membership in some of these groups.
Tanner sort of works for a secretive government organization, sort of like the CIA, but not. Written in 1968 and set in the midst of the Cold War, it is a comedic answer to Ian Fleming’s Bond series. These books are sardonic, witty, and filled with humour. It is interesting to read about all of these groups trying to get independence when decades later, the Iron Curtain has fallen and been smashed into smithereens and many of the formerly Soviet Block countries are now free and independent.
This, the fifth book in the series, takes Mr. Tanner on a journey to the exotic land of Canada, particularly French-speaking Canada where he must deal with the Cuban mission to the World’s Fair Expo in Montreal. In tow with him is the impish girl, Minna, a Lithuanian princess, who, if the world was differently ordered, would be heir to the throne of that medieval kingdom. Of all the borders Tanner has crossed over the years, the Canadian border proves, strangely enough, to be one of he most difficult for him, given his membership in certain subversive organizations.
Of course, the tale wouldn't be complete without a French-speaking nymphomaniac who just happens to be an absolute knockout, the Queen of England, and a fortune in illicit heroin.
The bottom line is that this is a terrific, funny read, more in the vein of Bernie Rhodenbarr than anything else by Block. A lot of fun to read, and certainly not to be taken too seriously.