garfield_lucas_bk_tsft garfield_lucas_bk_acoa
Full Name: Lucas Garfield
Nationality: American
Organization: NSAC
Occupation Agent

Creator: Frank Ross
Time Span: 1979 - 1987


Lucas Garfield is the chairman of the NSAC.

That acronym stands for National Security Advisory Committee. Being a part of this impressive group would probably be enough to warrant membership in this compendium but Garfield goes a step or two more. Indeed, we are told that at the time we encounter Garfield he has spent "a lifetime in government service and fifteen years in the mainstream of national security".

Garfield is by no means a young fellow when we meet him. He is sixty-eight years old though he looked younger such that most people would have guessed the mid-fifties. "He has been blessed with a baby face that belied his age treacherously for the first forty-five years of his life and then carried him into a puppy-fat old age." He had "a face still without lines; it wasn't in his character to overindulge himself with smiles, scowls, or anxiety".

The activities of the first recorded adventure take place in late 70s with Garfield happily allowing himself the luxury of retirement. This is well earned as his litany of assignments first in the diplomatic corps and later elsewhere is very impressive. This includes being a high-ranking diplomat to London arriving just days before Hermann Goring started his bombardment early in WWII and remaining there throughout the War despite the constant danger. It was shortly after D-Day that he was "dragged, protesting, to Washington to help draw up the blueprints that finally converted OSS into the CIA."

"From that moment on, he liked to tell himself, he was a bartered bride, the unidentified chattel of an unholy marriage between the President and State." "By 1974, Lucas Garfield was a monolith, still invisible, still without credit in his own calling, but more powerful than any of his contemporaries."

For all his history and his unspoken authority, Garfield wanted to be allowed to disappear into retirement. Events not at all of his choosing or his liking will force him out of his easy chair and into the shadows.

Good Line:
- "It was [Garfield's] experience that no performance ever matched the promise made for it, good or bad.
- "Habit and practice and professional conviction told him to apply the first principle of tradecraft: disbelief."


Number of Books:1
First Appearance:1979
Last Appearance:1987

The writing pair of Colin Northway and Michael Ewing released a small handful of highly suspenseful tales under the name Frank Ross.

However, according to expert Al Hubin, it is possible that for some reason the two Lucas Garfield adventures were actually written not by the partnership but individually; he presents the possibility (he does not claim certainty) that the first book, The 65th Tape, was written by Colin Northway alone and the second book, A Conspiracy of Angels, was penned by Michael Ewing by himself.

To my inexpert eyes, the two books had such a similar feel as to likely been created by the same person(s).

However that may be, another fascinating aspect of this two-book series is that it deals with American politics and clandestine operations which feel so accurate; yet both authors were British!

1 The Sixty-Fifth Tape The Sixty-Fifth Tape
Written by Frank Ross
Copyright: 1979

A deathbed confession written by a close friend of Lucas Garfield claims to be Pandora's Box, containing clues to set Garfield on the hunt for the 65th Watergate tape. Its contents "carries with it the power to destroy the fabric of American government." As Garfield investigates, a group of powerful men wanting even more control are set to put their own man in the White House, their plans only threatened by what is on that tape.

2 A Conspiracy Of Angels A Conspiracy Of Angels
Written by Frank Ross
Copyright: 1987

Years before, a charismatic professor named Bartel caused considerable anti-government unrest before fleeing the States just before being arrested. After years of traveling Europe working as a "third-string spy with a taste for the bottle" and now dying of cirrhosis, he wants to come home. Luke Garfield is brought out of retirement to spearhead his safe return but even as Garfield wonders why America would want him back, a puppet-master in the KGB in Moscow is busy pulling a lot of strings.


It might be possible to pass this two-book series off as just a political thriller not really belonging in this compendium but I would strongly disagree (obviously since I put it here). The forces that Garfield has to go up against are rooted in the spy business and use its craft to do all sorts of very bad things.

Plus, not including it would deprive me on the chance to shout loudly what an absolutely exquisite pleasure the words that grace these pages are to read. The prose is like an expensive bottle of brandy demanding to be sipped slowly and enjoyed with restraint. No quick chugging here - i.e., no skimming through the pages to the next action scene.


My Grade: A


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