Just when we thought we'd seen the last of those fictional, jet-hopping Secretaries of State with German accents--here, alas, is Secretary of State Arthur Koster in 1982, who might just be part of the Croesus Conspiracy. What's that, you ask? Well, only Robert Ludlum could do it justice, but we'll try: an American zillionaire who was a Nazi sympathizer (and Hitler's choice to be Amerika's mini-fuehrer) is determined to keep Der Fuehrer's dreams alive, so he's been working for years on German Rearmament and Reunification. In the process, this guy and his group have allowed or arranged the JFK assassination, the Watergate scandal, etc. They need, however, to own a U.S. President to get Germany back to its old self, so they have been subtly priming California's Sen. Travis Bickel for the White House in 1984. They've also been killing everyone in sight: Bickel's aide, Bickel's Senator buddy and son (who were looking into that zillionaire's past), an audience full of kids Bickel is addressing, and Bickel's crazy wife--all just to test Bickel's reactions. And so it goes, with Martin Bormann alive (barely) in Paraguay, a German gal reporter who's working for the KGB in Bickel's bed, quick cuts to Moscow, Lake Tahoe. . . . Thus--the customary nonsense, with Bickel such a dolt that there's no one to root for. But it's far livelier than Stein's turgid On the Brink (1977), and, if you don't mind having your mind treated like a second-class citizen, you can enjoy (?) Stein's nasty asides on the likes of Jimmy Carter (""the crazy look behind the eyes""), Washington's Sans Souci restaurant, and Dick Nixon.