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Icebreaker (novel): Wikis


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First edition cover
Author John Gardner
Cover artist Bill Botten (Jonathan Cape ed.)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 7 July 1983
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 256 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-224-02949-5 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC Number 10349437
LC Classification PR6057.A63 I2x 1983b
Preceded by For Special Services
Followed by Role of Honour

Icebreaker, first published in 1983, was the third novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond.[1] Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and is the first Bond novel to be published in the United States by Putnam, beginning a long-standing association.


Plot summary

Bond reluctantly finds himself recruited into a dangerous mission involving an equally dangerous and treacherous alliance of agents from the United States (CIA), the Soviet Union (KGB) and Israel (Mossad). The team, dubbed "Icebreaker", waste no time double-crossing each other. Ostensibly their job is to root out the leader of the murderous National Socialist Action Army (NSAA), Count Konrad von Glöda. The Count used to be known as Arne Tudeer, a one-time Nazi SS officer who now perceives himself as the new Adolf Hitler. The National Socialist Action Army is essentially a new wave of fascism as a means to wipe out communist leaders and supporters around the world.

The novel is full of double-crosses and even triple-crosses where the agents and agencies go without sharing their true loyalties with one another. The American agent, for instance, first appears to be a good guy then later in cahoots with von Glöda, and then still even later a good guy once again. Things become even more complicated when the Israeli agent, Rivke, is revealed to be the daughter of von Glöda/Tudeer and her allegiance, although appearing to be legitimate, in doubt. The Russian agent also double-crosses Bond in hopes of capturing him for KGB interrogation.

Bond gets several weeks of driving training from Erik Carlsson as preparation for this Arctic assignment.


  • Paula Vacker
    is a frequent love interest of James Bond that he visits virtually every time he is in Helsinki. During the course of the novel, her loyalty to him is questioned, initially appearing totally innocent, then in league with von Glöda, and finally discovered to be a deep under cover agent for Supo.
  • Brad Tirpitz
    is a member of the Icebreaker team and an agent from the CIA. He is later discovered by Bond to be in league with the National Socialist Action Army and to have killed the real agent Tirpitz and taken his place; he claims, his name is actually Hans Buchtman and is described as von Glöda's Heinrich Himmler. Buchtman, however, turns out to be an alias of Brad Tirpitz, who created this back-story as a way to gain entry into von Glöda's organisation; indeed, he actually works and is loyal to the CIA.
  • Kolya Mosolov
    is a KGB agent who is a member of the Icebreaker team. He is discovered to have planned the entire Icebreaker team in coordination with von Glöda. The two have a deal in which Mosolov would betray his country and sell arms to von Glöda in exchange for the capture of secret agent 007. Mosolov being not only an agent of the KGB, but also an agent working within "Department V", a department formerly known as SMERSH; Bond's main nemesis throughout the Ian Fleming novels. Mosolov believes that von Glöda will not succeed and is merely going along with the deal for the time being in order to capture Bond for the Soviets.
  • Rivke Ingber
    is a member of the Icebreaker team and an agent working for the Mossad. She is discovered to actually be Anni Tudeer, the daughter of Count von Glöda (aka Aarne Tudeer). Rivke plays both sides, initially acting like she is disgusted with her father's past, but later actually being discovered to be in league with him, thinking of herself as a future Führer.
  • Count Konrad von Glöda
    is the mastermind behind the National Socialist Action Army and self-declared Führer. His real name is Aarne Tudeer, a low-level SS officer wanted by the Allies for crimes during the Second World War. He attempts to bring back fascism by targeting communist leaders and supporters around the world.

Publication history

Gardner reveals that his publisher originally rejected the title Icebreaker, only to come back to it after rejecting "turkey after turkey" in terms of alternate titles.[2]

Icebreaker was released in Finland under a title Tehtävä Suomessa, James Bond (Mission in Finland, James Bond), as part of the book takes place in Finland.




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