Billion-Dollar Brain

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This article is about the book. For the movie adaptation, see Billion Dollar Brain.
Billion-Dollar Brain
Billion dollar brain.jpg
cover of the first edition
Author Len Deighton
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel, Spy Novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 412 pp
ISBN 0-09-985710-3
Preceded by Funeral in Berlin

Billion-Dollar Brain is a 1966 Cold War spy novel by Len Deighton. It was the fourth to feature an unnamed secret agent working for the British WOOC(P) intelligence agency. It follows The IPCRESS File (1962), Horse Under Water (1963), and Funeral in Berlin (1964). As in most of the author's novels, the plot of Billion-Dollar Brain is intricate, with many dead ends.


The unnamed protagonist travels to Helsinki to deliver a package after receiving instructions from a mysterious mechanically operated telephone message. On his arrival he discovers that the message was from 'The Brain', a one billion dollar super-computer owned by eccentric Texan billionaire General Midwinter.

Midwinter is using The Brain to organise his own intelligence agency and private army which will soon start an uprising in Soviet-occupied Latvia[1] in an attempt to end Communism in the Eastern bloc and tip the balance of the Cold War in favour of the West. After discovering this, and also the fact that the package he delivered contained a deadly virus, the protagonist must stop the virus from falling into the hands of both the Soviets and the madman billionaire - and prevent a nuclear war between the superpowers in the process.

Film adaptation[edit]

The novel was filmed in 1967 as the third installment of the Harry Palmer series of films based on Deighton's novels featuring Michael Caine. It was commercially unsuccessful.