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The Loo Sanction by Trevanian
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The Loo Sanction (original 1973; edition 1973)

by Trevanian

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345731,733 (3.59)6
Member:realfish
Title:The Loo Sanction
Authors:Trevanian
Info:Crown Publishers, Inc. (1973), Hardcover, 282 pages
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The Loo Sanction by Trevanian (1973)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I really liked the "Sanction" books and this was no exception. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Everyone is no doubt familiar with the movie "Eiger Sanction" based on a book of the same name by Trevanian, pseudonym for a university professor who wrote a series of very popular genre novels. Miffed that critics and many readers did not get the spoof intended in the Eiger Sanction, he wrote the Loo Sanction which is not only a very successful spy thriller but a broad lampoon of British (and American) academia and the espionage community. The puns surrounding the word "loo," the name of the British section that evolved into MI-6-like sanction operation are ubiquitous and the scene in which Hemlock is giving a lecture on film criticism to a packed house of grad students while being approached by a evil set of agents is both hysterical, parodic and masterfully written. I was listening to this book while mowing and must have been a sight chuckling out loud and I tried to mow a straight line around trees.

Jonathan has been blackmailed (by killing a man in his apartment and leaving evidence of Jonathan's culpability) into helping the "Loo" bring down Maxwell Strange (I can't believe the names assigned to characters are coincidental) who runs a sexual debauchery house called "The Cloisters.) (Given the current scandals in the Catholic Church, perhaps Trevanian was prescient.) The Cloisters has been making films of the peccadilloes and sexual perversions of men high up in the government - not threatening overt blackmail, but the threat they might is omnipresent. Jonathan is charged with recovering the films and bringing down Strange - not shutting down the Cloisters, since it will then become a Loo operation and used to make the Loo self-sufficient budgetarily and of course will be used judiciously to keep the country on the proper path and finally settle that pesky "Irish problem."

There is a delightful scene as the Vicar and Jonathan walk through the countryside in the rain to discuss his proposed task. "Oh dear, you really should be more careful where you tread in a cow pasture, much like Paris streets," said the Vicar as they discuss Jonathan's task. "It does seem odd that a man who was so expert at mountain climibing should find a walk in the country so fraught with difficulty. . . . Permit me to hold this barbed wire up for you, oh well, you said you were not particularly fond of this jacket." "

He is quoted in his Wikipeadia entry as saying the following of his fans: "The Trevanian​ Buff is a strange and wonderful creature: an outsider, a natural elitist, not so much a cynic as an idealist mugged by reality, not just one of those who march to a different drummer, but the solo drummer in a parade of one."

Masterfully read by Joe Barrett. He does the Vicar with exactly the right amount of pretentoiusness and smug arrogance. The book is a nice mix of intelligent lampoonery with traditional thriller/hero/action.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Trevanian is the master of spy satire. He is truly inspirational and his eloquence puts to shame a lot of the vapid, short sentence, low on vocabulary, fast paced nonsense purporting to be real literature of the same genre. If I could have a thimble of his excellence in my literary neurons, then I would feel accomplished. But i do agree with the view that Trevanian's work can sound suspiciously anarchistic and like self-flattery flatulence of the cowboy frontier's style machismo that seems more of the past as a literary favored style than a current day popular one. Meanwhile read my own literary self flattery "flatulence" at ZUrabia and give me your vapid views of it.
  PeterDash | Nov 26, 2011 |
Yet another spy novel where the hero is way too smart and the bad guys are way too dumb. Even when his plan blows up in his face, Hemlock is able to run circles around not one but two idiotic organizations that are out to get him. There are a few good passages, but not many. ( )
  5hrdrive | Sep 6, 2011 |
At the end of The Eiger Sanction an exhausted and nearly broken--but now quite rich--Jonathan Hemlock walked away from his career as an assassin for the Search and Sanction Unit of the CII. He'd lost in love, he'd lost in friendship, and he'd determined to give up everything else in his life except his beloved--and quite illicit--art collection.

We meet up with him again in The Loo Sanction four years later. He's living abroad, in England, doing a series of guest lectures on art and making a joyless round of galleries, museums, and parties. The rare bright spots in his life are his art collection--of course--which has traveled with him, and his few oddball friends, including flamboyantly raging lesbian Vanessa "Van" Dyke and art thief MacTaint, who seems "to be visiting modern London from the pages of Dickens or the chorus of Threepenny Opera." While he may not be happy in this life of his, Hemlock is at least more or less content. And so, of course, a secret inner division of MI, a counterpart to the American Search and Sanction Unit known as The Loo because of its unfortunate first home in a toilet up the hall from MI-5 and MI-6, will manage to bumble its way to him, demanding his help in a case too delicate to involve even their own operatives.

In the mod, swinging London of the early seventies a new sex club has opened. It is called the Cloisters, and it caters to the jaded sexual appetites of, as the head of the Loo--known as the Vicar, because that's his day job--puts it, Very Highly Placed Persons. There are secret sex tapes, and it's to be Hemlock's job to obtain those tapes using whatever means necessary. Unluckily for Hemlock, this will involve visits to sex clubs, being shot up with weird drugs, and escapes out windows with giant thugs chasing him. But for us, the readers, Hemlock's pain is our gain: the action is vivid, the dialog scintillating, and the depiction of the scene in London--and Hemlock's contempt for it--is hilarious.

It has been said that The Loo Sanction is so very over-the-top because Trevanian was disgusted both by the "vapid" transfer of The Eiger Sanction from page to screen and also by the critics who didn't get that it was a send up. Whatever the reason, the result is phenomenal, because Trevanian doesn't do things by halves. In this book there is action galore, including a brilliant and juicy art heist (supposedly copied successfully by real life art thieves). If Loo is perhaps not as fresh as its predecessor, it's still, once again, both a perfect example of the genre (you can keep your Bond, Mr. Fleming) and an exemplary spoof of it. ( )
3 vote BeckyJG | Feb 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380001756, Paperback)

"A masterpiece . . ." THE NEW YORK TIMES
The scene is London, where Jonathan Hemlock is blackmailed into performing another "sanction" -- a top-secret political assassination -- in a nerve-wracking web involving dirty dealings among high-ranking British government officials and a British counterespionage group. Once again Hemlock's life hangs in the balance -- but this time the game is deadlier, the penalty for failure more grotesquely lethal than ever before!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jonathan Hemlock, the art professor and mercenary who first excited readers with his daring exploits in The Eiger Sanction, returns for another masterful adventure. Jonathan has gone to England for a vacation, but it is interrupted when British Intelligence needs him for his highly skilled services. Jonathan must take over the mission of an agent whose murder was so bizarre and terrifying that no other agent was willing to replace him. His task is to locate a set of secretly made films that incriminate a number of high-ranking British officials. His target is a top underworld figure who delights in debauchery and torture. Facing this threat, Jonathan is drawn into a labyrinthine network of intrigue and depravity. When the pieces of the dangerous puzzle fall together, he will be forced to attempt one of the most daring escapes ever conceived.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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