The Red Fox

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Robert Thorne, a writer and former journalist specializing in the Soviet Union, receives an urgent call for help from an old girl friend. May Brightman’s adoptive father, Harry, a Canadian fur dealer, has disappeared. The only clue May can offer is that his disappearance may be somehow linked to her adoption as an infant, forty years before.

While attempting to track down Harry Brightman, Thorne discovers that Harry led a double life. He was dealing with the Soviets through his fur business, but he was also involved with the Communist Party. An old photograph of Brightman with several well-known Soviets and American sympathizers leads Thorne to Brightman’s old cronies. After another disappearance and one mutilated body later, Thorne realizes that he is not the only one interested in Harry Brightman. He finds himself on a quest to discover Brightman’s secret, a mystery that spans two generations and two continents, and finally leads Thorne to an old man who not only knows Brightman’s astonishing secret but also can explain a riddle in Thorne’s own past as well.

Anthony Hyde displays a high degree of knowledge of the Soviet Union in this best-selling first novel. Through the actions and minds of his characters, Hyde leads a merry chase with many twists, turns, and false clues. Unfortunately, this is often overdone, and at times the plot becomes rather muddled. Nevertheless, Hyde’s colorful and richly detailed descriptions of his characters and locales give the reader a genuine feel for the action.