Themes

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The primary theme in this novel is the conflict between the two great powers of the United States and the Soviet Union, the forces of light and of darkness and the subsidiary themes of betrayal, loyalty, and freedom which spin off from the primary conflict. Like his predecessor, Tiger Mann fights to protect the liberty of the common people in the streets, and he is willing to go to any means to keep that freedom alive. He is unconcerned with the delicacies of diplomacy, because they so often end in betrayal by those who at first seem to be our allies if not our friends. He trusts no one because his experience has been that to trust is to expose weakness which makes for vulnerability and the possibility of defeat.

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As so often is true in his other novels, Spillane in the Tiger Mann series personalizes his themes in the life of his central characters, often in the form of their attachments to women. The surprise ending to this novel allows Tiger to experience both betrayal and reward for following his loyalties. Spillane remarked once in an interview, that there are no winners and losers in his fiction and in life, only some who lose less than others. This seems a rather existential statement for someone who seems to deny the importance of the intellectual.

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Characters