We zero in here on the true tale of the successful World War II mission against a Japanese bomber carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Fleet, the man who launched the strike on Pearl Harbor. The narrative opens with a decoded message informing the American command of Yamamoto's flight plans; then flashes back to tell the story of Yamamoto's brilliant naval career and the history of the five man American flight group which brought him down. The section on the American flyers' early training and operations has a falsely hearty Mr. Roberts quality to it -- full of tough-and-tender joshing dialogue supposedly ressurected from interviews with the participants 20 years after. By contrast, Yamamoto comes across more convincingly; he is portrayed as a rather appealingly naive military genius, who delighted in poetry as well as daring strategems. While the flashback technique dilutes the suspense somewhat (the planes don't go up until near the end) the description of the air battle itself is gripping. For action flick fans on the alert for the ""Clean Quintet,"" or whatever this will be called when it takes to the screen.