Passage of Arms (1959), by Eric Ambler, is a fast-paced thriller about the discovery of a cache of arms, abandoned by Communist insurgents in the Malayan jungle, and the later transfer of the arms via Singapore to Indonesia. The novel is structured as three connected stories. The outer, framing story is that of Girija Krishnan, the Tamil plantation clerk who finds the arms cache and sells it to raise money to fund his bus service company. Krishnan′s story of business ambition leads to the story of an entrepreneurial Chinese trading family who arrange the transferring of the arms. The central, third story features an American couple, Greg and Dorothy Nilsen, who are tourists of the Far East used to legitimize the transaction, and so find themselves in great danger — the recurrent theme of ″innocents abroad″ that characterizes the novels of Eric Ambler.
As a novel, the narrative of Passage of Arms combines high and low humor, political and social suspense, and military action populated by vivid characters acting in ″exotic″ locales.