THE VATICAN TARGET by Barry & Hal Fishman Schiff


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Yet another kidnap-the-Pope thriller, a notch or two below the mediocre The Hadrian Ransom (p. 140). This time the culprits are the Black September terrorists, who are tired of piddling but costly forays and decide to take on a really big job to direct the world's ire toward Israel. The Pope is flying to San Francisco to attend a World Conference on Population, and the terrorists plan to hold the Pope captive, fly him to Jordan, and keep him as ransom for the West Bank. If Israel--following its no-talk policy with terrorists--fails to comply, Black September will have accomplished its greatest propaganda coup ever. Security aboard the Pope's 747 is tight indeed, but the terrorists kidnap the immediate families of the plane's two pilots and flight engineer. While these captive families are herded together into a shack on the California desert (and try to hatch an escape scheme), an Israeli strike team prepares to lure the hijacked plane to a fake Jordanian-looking landing field (on Israeli ground!). The crunch comes when the jet lands in a sandstorm on the fake field while the real Jordanian army gathers on the border. . . .A routine melodramatic sketch, with the Pope but lightly penciled in (he was a fairly intriguing fellow in The Hadrian Ransom), and the whole plot will blow away an hour after you've read it.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's