NR Digital

Athwart

Anti-Anti-Anti

by James Lileks

Anthony Burgess, the brilliant British novelist remembered for the misunderstood A Clockwork Orange, also wrote a spy novel. It was the height of the Bond era, and he couldn’t resist satirizing the genre while banging out a crackling yarn at the same time. His publishers no doubt groaned when he presented the title: “Tremor of Intent: An Eschatological Spy Novel.” Yeah, Tony, that’ll sell. There’s a title that tells people to expect underwater lairs stocked with Swedish models in bikinis and poison lipstick. At one point the agent is cornered by an assassin who works for Panleth, an international assassination consortium happy to kill anyone, East or West, for a price. The agent is saved by a small boy who shoots the killer, mutters “Bloody neutrals,” staggers to a corner, and throws up.

Oddly enough, there was no movie version.

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