This caustic romance about a State Department-C.I.A.-inspired coup d'etat in an unnamed Arab-African state could be called The Even Uglier American and seems to contain chapters too controversial for that earlier novel. The premise here is that the State Department has revised its policies drastically and is fighting the Communists with their own bloody methods of subversion and sabotage. For instance, when a Russian munitions freighter blows up in Port City, the reader is fairly certain the Communists didn't do it. The plot concerns the efforts of Mark Cannon, the American Minister at the Embassy, to get a retired national hero to come forth as leader of an insurrection against that nation's malfunctioning monarchy. The twist is that Cannon and the leader's wife are in love and have been half-way so for ten years. When the wife, after a night with Cannon in a beach house, sends a phony suicide note to her husband and disappears, the leader does rouse himself and carries out a successful rebellion. The State Department, however, is bewildered and thinks the leader is actually a Commy dupe, not an American dupe. The scenes involving U.S. diplomacy and cynical C.I.A. men are bleached of all idealism and laced with acid entertainment.