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Icebreaker, first published in 1983, was the third novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. 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

After a routine SIS training mission in Finland, Bond decided to pay a visit to his old friend Paula Vacker. When he arrived at her apartment, he was attacked by armed assailants and sustained a shoulder wound. The next day he immediately went back to London to report the occurrence to M. M then informed him that the training mission had been intended to get him ready for Operation Icebreaker, a multi-intelligence operation founded by the KGB. The Soviet Union sought help from the CIA, MI6, and the Israeli intelligence organization Mossad in order to stop arms reaching the hands of the National Socialist Action Army, a group based in Finland near the Russian Border that believed itself to be the Fourth Reich. Bond was then sent to meet his colleagues, Mossad's Rivke Ingber, the CIA's Brad Tirpitz and the KGB's Nicolai Moslov. Bond quickly tested his colleagues' information by pretending to have none and seeing what they withheld. Ingber seemed to have little to no information, while Tirpitz and Bond were equally well informed. Moslov however withheld key details such as the suspect Konrad von Glöda, and omitting tanks and warheads from his list of weapons trafficked to the NSAA facility at Blue Hare. Before leaving town, Bond stopped back at Paula Vacker's apartment and found it ransacked with two Nazi medals belonging to an "Aarne Tudeer". Recognizing the name Tudeer as the surname of a colleague Paula had admitted to discussing Bond with after the initial attack, he called M to send a picture and to gather intelligence on "Anni Tudeer". Bond decided to drive his Saab 900 Turbo to the rendez-vous point, but en route was attacked by several snow plows that meant to crush him. Bond was able to outmaneuver the plows, and arrive safely. When he reached his hotel room, he found that the picture of Tudeer had arrived, and he opened it to find that Tudeer was in fact Rivke Ingber. He confronted her about it, and she admitted to having once been named Anni Tudeer, but had not known Paula Vacker since her school days. Ostensibly their job is to root out the leader of the murderous NSAA, Count Konrad von Glöda. The Count used to be known as Arne Tudeer, a onetime 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 legit, 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.
  • Gardner, on his website, 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.
  • Icebreaker was released in Finland under a title James Bond - Tehtävä Suomessa (James Bond - Mission in Finland). Part of the book takes place in Finland.
  • In this book, Bond uses a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch.

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