Snow Falcon (1979)

This is what I think of as the first 'epic' book to be written by Craig Thomas. By that I mean that the scope of the book is much more ambitious than his previous three novels. We even get a two page cast of characters at the start. We also get the very original and inspired choice of a KGB officer as one of the main protagonists.

Major Vorontsyev (for it is he) has stumbled upon a plot which would mean a new Russian revolution and the start of a war with the West. The Soviet leader is meeting his American counterpart for the SALT 3 talks which provides the perfect opportunity for the new revolution by the hard-liners who will take over in his absence.

Meanwhile the British have also discovered that something is up. Aubrey of MI6 sends a succession of ill-fated SAS personnel (codename "Snow Falcon") to the Norwegian-Finnish border to try and find out what the Russians are up to. One by one all the agents vanish. There is just time for one more mission involving Waterford from Firefox Down (written later but set before this novel)...

Snow Falcon is the first of three novels set largely in the Arctic conditions of Scandinavia and it's all the better for it. It's one of his best books. Indeed I would argue that you could make a case for it being his best ever. Vorontsyev will eventually return to right more wrongs in the post-Soviet A Wild Justice.