The Union is a criminal organization with tentacles throughout the world, specializing in military espionage, theft, intimidation and murder. After one of its agents assassinates James Bond's friend, the Union becomes 007's priority target.
When information vital to Britain's national security is stolen, both M and Bond suspect that the Union is behind it. The trail leads Bond from one of England's most exclusive golf clubs to the cosmopolitan city of Brussels and finally to the icy heights of the legendary mountain Kangchenjunga.
Led by the abrasive mountaineer Group Captain Roland Marquis, aided by the expedition's beautiful doctor, Hope Kendall, and opposed by an unknown traitor working out of SIS itself, Bond must pit his strength and guile against two deadly adversaries - the forces of nature at high altitude and the most resourceful criminal minds he has ever encountered.
James Bond has always been a figure of fantasy and Benson, in his routine fourth Bond novel (after The Facts of Death) wisely keeps him fantastic. An international mercenary terrorist gang called the Union pilfers the British secret formula for Skin 17, the only aircraft material that can withstand a speed of Mach 7. Besides its technological importance, Skin 17 is a triumph for the lagging British military, so spymaster M needs Bond to get it back, and to find the turncoat who helped the Union steal it. The terrorists hide the formula for Skin 17 on a microdot implanted inside the pacemaker of a Chinese national, who dies a few days later when the airplane he's flying in is hijacked and crashes on Kangchenjunga, third-highest mountain of the Himalayas: hence this novel's title. Bond, of course, is dispatched to retrieve the microdot. En route to a blood-filled, ice-encased climax,