Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Fourth Protocol

The principal theme of The Fourth Protocol freezingly feasible: with today's technology it is possible to construct a small, basic atomic bomb in a dozen components, smuggle it piece-by-piece from any Eastern Bloc country into a rental house on your street and let it go with a timer-device. No four-minute warning, no counter-strike, no radar alert, no identification of the perpetrator--just a nuclear explosion in a basement apartment. Only the components need government laboratories with nuclear capability; the assembly is straightforward with DIY tools.
So why do it? In signing the secret Fourth Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, America, Russia and Britain agreed never to do it because we would then all be vulnerable to a living nightmare. Now someone is trying to breach the Fourth Protocol.
Plan Aurora was hatched in a remote country house in northern Russia between the Chairman of the KGB, a chess grand¬master and a British renegade. Reason? To detonate a small nuke on a Yankee air base in Britain, unleash a wave of anti-Americanism over all Europe and provoke the Europeans to kick America out. End of NATO.
Round Plan Aurora the main characters play their roles: the brutal General Govorshin, head of the KGB; the urbane and cunning General Karpov, excluded from the Plan, aware of it nonetheless, appalled at its recklessness, biding his time; Major Petrofsky, lean, charming and totally lethal, the man Govorshin sends to Britain to assemble the pieces and trigger the weapon.
On the other side are Sir Nigel Irvine, the wily and devious head of British foreign intelligence, Karpov's opposite number, suspecting the Plan, calculating odds in the great power game; Brian Harcourt-Smith, toffee-nosed head of British Counter Intelligence, convinced the suspicions are ridiculous.
Between them is John Preston, tough ex-Para turned spy catcher, tenacious, angry, prepared to break all the rules to hunt down the mysterious Soviet agent he knows to be "out there somewhere".
It's a movie about raw power, cynicism in high places, loyalty and betrayal, the ever-shifting game plans of espionage, deception and deliberate disinformation, tacit deals, the expendability of underlings; at stake is the success or failure of the biggest and deadliest confidence trick ever played. When the climax comes, and Preston peels away the onion-layers of deception, the answer is not what you expect . . .
Just nine small components smuggled into England from the Eastern Bloc--that's all it takes to piece together an atom bomb no more than three feet tall and nine inches wide. It's a tidy little package—with potentially untidy consequences for a U.S. Air Force base and two square miles of Britain. If the bomb should be detonated, the Americans will be blamed, the outcry will force the U.S. military out of Europe and NATO will crumble.
Today's technology makes such a bomb all too possible. Living undercover in England to make that possibility a reality is the KGB's top agent, the charming, ruthless Major Petrofsky (Pierce Brosnan), while pitted against him is British agent John Preston (Michael Caine), prepared to break every rule to get his man but taking time to be with the young son he loves so.
Basing the screenplay for The Fourth Protocol on his best-selling novel of the same name, Frederick Forsyth has brewed up a good old-fashioned thriller--a tale of betrayal, loyalty, cynicism in high places, deception and more deception.
Co-starring in the Lorimar Motion Pictures Release are Joanna Cassidy as the Soviet scientist sent to England to assemble the bomb, Ned Beatty and Ray McAnally as KGB generals who stumble onto the plot being hatched by others in the spy organization and Anton Rodgers as a British traitor who is "turned" by his countrymen to pass bogus secrets to the Soviets.


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