The Great Britain of the near future--rampant crime and unemployment, violent coppers and unions--is fair game for a military takeover a la Seven Days in May, or so believes emotionally fragile young Lord John Willoughby. Secretary to that charismatic, strike-breaking Minister of Labour, Jack Steele, John eavesdrops and snoops his way to his traumatic ""protector conclusion"": Steele intends to declare himself the new Cromwell, using missiles aimed at London as an ultimatum. No one believes John's delusion/discovery--not even the bachelor King or the bamboozled reader--since his psychiatric history (satyr father, whore mother, suicide attempts and breakdowns) is public knowledge. So John must turn solo assassin, an unlikely role for a fellow who has fits when asked to type a letter. Derivative nonsense, but Burmeister (The Weatherman Guy) packs so much variety into the economical telling--diary excerpts and a half-dozen points of view to balance John's appealingly weak-kneed stance--that it's far easier to absorb than the far bulkier American versions of the same basic coup d'Ã‰tat scenario.