Kilian takes a break from implausible spy thrillers (Northern Exposure, Blood of the Czars, etc.) for an implausible,...



Kilian takes a break from implausible spy thrillers (Northern Exposure, Blood of the Czars, etc.) for an implausible, opinionated, and often amusing historical fantasy: the 1935 transatlantic crossing of a jinxed ocean liner, with a passenger list that includes Edward, Prince of Wales, Wallis Simpson, and Charles Lindbergh. The security officers charged with keeping naughty Prince Edward and his rowdy coterie (including not only Wallis but Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, Lady Diana Cooper and more) out of the public eye first hatch the idea of the ocean-liner voyage. Handsome journalist C. Jamieson Spencer also books passage on the brand-new Wilhelmina, because of a rumor that the elusive Lindbergh will be aboard, a captive interview subject. And when word of the royal cruise trickles through the espionage community, Olga, a Stalinist assassin, and Count von Kresse, a handsome Prussian war hero and anti-Nazi, snap up tickets. Aboard, the babyish Prince sets the tone of restless debauchery; Edwina Mountbatten seduces every handsome man in sight: and Lindbergh, traveling under cover, pulls some pranks (switching the salt and sugar in the dining salon, etc.). It's during the masquerade ball, however, that serious trouble starts: a fire in the engine room rages out of control, and the gaudily costumed guests are forced to take to the lifeboats. All get tossed around by the hurricane-roiled sea, and a romance between Spencer and gorgeous film-star Nora Gwynne blooms. Post-rescue, questions remain: Will Olga achieve her bloody ends? Will Spencer tell all in a journalistic coup that will revive his saggy career? And what's Lindbergh up to? Despite the absence of genuine suspense, then: a smart enough page-turner, with irreverent character sketches, and a full cargo of intrigue, lust and the strange ways of the rich and famous.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1987