NYT calls it "a thinking man's thriller". Amblers were best sellers in the early 80's. This is my third one and he is well worth reading. His main characters are not professional "spooks" but handle themselves well. He seems to like writers and journalists for this role.
"Eric Ambler always relied on the contemporary political tensions to build his international espionage thrillers. The Care of Time is no exception except that it has stood the test of time for 22 years amazingly well. If you leave out occasional references to the Cold War, the rest of the book could easily have been set in January 2003. If you are interested in the question of how to control access to weapons of mass destruction, you will find The Care of Time provides you will chilling issues to keep you up late at night!
The Care of Time is Mr. Ambler's last novel, and is unfortunately out of print. Hopefully, the events in the Middle East over the last 12 years will increase interest enough in the novel to bring it back into print.
The key players in the book are an Arab ruler of a small Middle Eastern state, an American ghostwriter with a CIA background, and an international wheeler dealer in shadowy offerings. Amid them are sprinkled terrorists, generals, and reporters. The resulting stew builds around a thrilling, suspenseful plot in which the safety of all of us is put into question. To give you a flavor, here's how the book opens. "The warning mesage arrived on Monday, the bomb itself on Wednesday."
Those who like thrillers will find this one to be very satisfying unless they require the deaths of vast numbers of people in the story.
For Eric Ambler fans, I think this is the best of his work in his last decade. "