A TERRORIST named Marcos asks safe entry into Heathrow to stop a rival terrorist plot. This, of course, makes everyone in British Intelligence suspicious. Not that these blokes need much to set them at each other.

Especially catalytic is the fact that the terrorist has also requested the services of "minder"--e.g., bodyguard-- Crispin Bridge. No one is more out of favor with Her Majesty's government at the moment.

Close in the disfavor department, though, is Theo Mardellis, recently demoted from DI Six to DI Eight. Mardellis is in charge of Resource, which busies aging spies, thus keeping them from writing their memoirs, revealing all.

Poor Theo. He's involved with Daphne, the 19-year-old daughter of the head of anti-terrorism, Colonel Heller. Heller never liked Theo much, even before this.

Obviously, just from a rundown of the cast, this book is lots of fun. There's plenty of action, too, taking the reader through the seamier sections of London as well as the steamier parts of Tenerife.

But there's also a strong, multi-layered plot. We discover the plan to spread deadly botulism spores early on. But is this the terrorism Marcos meant to stop? Or is the greater threat the very counter-measure Britain, under Colonel Heller's direction, plans to employ? And meanwhile, who's to say that the botulism was meant to reach only the consumers out buying their food in tins. Perhaps the OPEC leaders, soon to dine at Buckingham Palace, are targets as well.

This book, nicely built and expertly paced, keeps us and its characters guessing. It meets all of the thriller requirements--including the underpinning of humor we have come to expect--in just the right measure.