Blood, torture, death and chattering choppers punctuate every episode of this Vietnam war novel about a special combat team infiltrating into North Vietnam on what is plainly a suicide mission. The novel has nothing new to say about war, except that it is worse than ever, nor are there any built-in political pleas. It is strictly commercial. Not one member of the team is happy about being shanghaied into the disastrous expedition. Its purpose is double: to rescue or murder a captured U.S. captain before he talks under torture, and to knock out a highly protected bridge. The main character is an ironrumped colonel, a bleak, malarial commando specialist who once survived not only the Bataan Death March but even more terrible experiences. Aside from the enormous amount of equipment they carry, the eight-man team plays their mission by ear, having to invent each step of their way. Ironically, the first half of their success, freeing the prisoner, only reveals that they are very likely Judas goats sent on a decoy maneuver. Not memorable but the lead really flies.