cover of the first edition
|Genre||Science fiction novel, Spy Novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|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 the protagonist 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 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.
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.
- Panek, Leroy (1981) The special branch: the British spy novel, 1890-1980, p. 224. Popular Press at Google Books. Retrieved 29 April 2013.