"Look!" shouted Syme suddenly. "Look over there!" "Look at what?" asked the Secretary savagely. "Look at the captive balloon!" said Syme, and pointed in a frenzy. "Why the blazes should I look at a captive balloon?" demanded the Secretary. "What is there queer about a captive balloon?" " Nothing ," said Syme, "except that it isn't captive!" Ch. XIV : The Six Philosophers
It is not quite a political bad dream, or metaphysical adventure, or cosmic comedy in the form of a spy story, but it has something of all these. Anyway, it is unique, and also, what is not all that much easier to bring about, magnetically readable … James Bond and Gabriel Syme differ in innumerable ways, but they share a quality of romance , of color and chivalry, almost of myth , that attracts me a lot more deeply than anything about the down-to-earth and up-to-the-minute heroes of writers like Len Deighton and John Le Carré.