THE MACHIAVELLIAN AFFAIR – synopsis
By Wilf Nussey When the Soviet Union crumbles in the late 1980s, control of its huge arsenal disintegrates. Member states go their own ways taking with them sophisticated weaponry. A group of old guard communists, seeing their power evaporating, exploits the situation to try to turn the clock back. With stolen nuclear missiles they set out to create international crises in several parts of the world to discredit Moscow’s new liberalism, create openings for Russian military power and restore the credibility of communism. One place they pick is Southern Africa, where black nationalism meets the barrier of apartheid. Missiles will be used to cause a major disaster for which South Africa will be blamed, triggering open war. Russian forces under the Red banner will rush to black Africa’s aid. British and American intelligence get wind of this but are unwilling to take direct action. Britain’s MI6 opts to use the services of a billionaire and political intriguer with worldwide business interests whose son, a charter pilot in Kenya and covert MI6 agent, has disappeared on a flight to Mauritius. He hires Victor Kennedy to find his son. Kennedy is an out-of-work Briton who fought for Rhodesia in the guerilla war there. The search leads him via murky exile groups in South Africa to Mozambique, where he enlists the help of the rebel underground and the sinister security police discover his presence. The CIA learn of the Russian plot from their own sources. They inform the national security advisor and he decides to turn the tables by seizing guidance control of the hijacked nuclear missiles and blaming the apartheid government in South Africa. Kennedy finds the missing son and discovers the full ramifications of the plot but is captured. Meanwhile South Africa’s intelligence chiefs have been tipped off and ironically discover their objective is the same that of Mozambique’s Frelimo rulers, who have also learned of the plot: destroy it. They go to Kennedy’s assistance. The story moves between the political machinations in London, Washington and Southern African as the competing groups move to abort the rebel Russians’ scheme or take it over for their own objectives. It rises to taut and violent action as Kennedy and a Mozambican colleague move to destroy the missiles, and reaches spectacular climax in the depths of Madagascar. The scenes, cities, wilderness, technology and most of the names are authentic. The vivid characters are fictitious but modelled from life. This book is a re-issue of “Darts of Deceit” with a title and cover picture more appropriate to the complexity of the story.