The blandest and least exciting of the many recent child-kidnap novels. Emma and Tommy, the two small children of divorced filmmaker James Grey, are abducted from his vineyard-estate in northern Italy one day; two policemen are killed in the resulting chase. And the bulk of the ensuing action centers on James' attempt, back in London with ex-wife Claire, to raise ransom money--after an absurd demand for several millions of pounds is received. There are problems with bankers, with real-estate types. James meets with the terrorists, who scorn his much more modest ransom offer. (They even rough him up.) But eventually, after an anonymous tip leads James to ask a neighboring Count for help, the authorities close in on the kidnappers' hideout--and there's a perfunctory, suspenseless rescue-finale. Slow-moving, sentimental, weighed down with platitudinous dialogue (James' gorgeous Japanese girlfriend Kazue tells him: ""Time will free you. It heals! It's so much stronger than we can believe"")--and, despite some engaging details in the locale, completely without conviction when it comes to the specifics of action, violence, and trauma.