England, 1935. Physicist Henry Barstow is on holiday when he meets the mysterious Simon Groom, a representative for an armaments manufacturer. Groom invites the professor to Ixania, a small nation-state in Eastern Europe whose weapons program threatens to destabilize the region. Only after suffering a blow to the head – which muddles his brain into believing he is Conway Carruthers, international spy – does the physicist agree to visit Ixania.
Barstow, however, quickly recognizes that Groom has a more sinister agenda, and Carruthers is the only man who can stop him. Setting out to parody old-fashioned spy novels, Ambler established his trademark style in The Dark Frontier. The Dark Frontier launched Eric Ambler's five-decade career as one of the most influential thriller writers.
(Description edited from the description on the back cover of the paperback edition of The Dark Frontier.)
The plot seemed convoluted and confusing to me, bordering almost on science fiction.
Furthermore, the characters were to a great extent caricatures. Since Ambler set out to “parody old-fashioned spy stories, the convoluted plot and caricature characters were his intent.
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