An overblown if exciting parable apparently designed to justify missionary activities in so-called primitive countries. The...

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THE DEATH OF KINGS

An overblown if exciting parable apparently designed to justify missionary activities in so-called primitive countries. The Universal Gospel Mission not only has the monopoly on Christ in Hamara--a small African country near Sudan--but is the sole western means of contact with Terragona, a more or less independent province coveted alike by China, Hamara and the Mission. Hamara daffy flies in nine Piper Cubs armed with medicine for its hospitals and nitroglycerine. Meanwhile, an American sent to rescue a downed satellite is killed by Maoist sympathizers, the mission hospitals discover a deadly unknown bacteria originating from a sacred lake, and Blake -- the tormented chief of the airlift operation -- is accused of doctrinal deficiency. The only way to save the world from the space bacteria is to bum it off the lake, which will surely result in the king's killing most of the medical missionaries, and anyway, it is touch-and-go if Blake and his hardy team can reach the spot before the satellite's self-destruct mechanism sends its deadly hosts halfway round the world. This fast-paced thriller is marred by the kind of religious rhetoric that sounds particularly silly in the mouths of daredevil fliers who could put the Lafayette Escadrille to shame, and the assumption that baptism is necessary for the Noble Savage seems dubious, at best.

Pub Date: May 3, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1974