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American scientists trying to seed a hurricane are attacked by Cuban jets; another thriller big on technology but short on plot from the author of The Kieve Footprint (1983). The nervy, slightly-out-of-breath narrator--and it's no wonder, since he's narrating while piloting a crippled plane through the eye of a hurricane--is Jake Warren, a scientist working for a government hurricane-research agency based in Miami. His boss is brilliant, hard-driving Henry Sorel, mastermind behind the controversial Prospero Project. Named after Shakespeare's weather-changing magican in The Tempest, it's a plan to severely weaken hurricanes by seeding them on a technological level never before attempted; unfortunately, Prospero can also cause the storms to increase in size, or change directions precipitously. Which is why the government has now decided to kill the project--the Cubans are reacting belligerently to (false) reports that have the Americans using Prospero to drive devastating storms away from the US and onto the shores of their island. Sorel is enraged, but craftily asks permisssion for one last dry run or ""drill"" before putting the project into mothballs. Jake thinks Sorel is cracking up, especially after learning that Sorel's entire family was killed by Hurricane Camille in 1969; his boss is obviously gunning for a hurricane, and gets one when Hurricane Dolly appears stalled between Florida and Cuba. Along with the rest of the crew, Sorel and Jake fly through it, but Sorel double-crosses them and actually does seed Dolly. They are attacked by enraged Cubans flying nuclear-capable Russian jets and their plane is severely damaged. With the pilot and copilot dead or wounded, Sorel brain-damaged, and the hurricane shrieking all around them, it's up to Jake (who has limited flying time) to show the fight stuff and bring the rest of the crew safely home. Brassy high-tech jargon (""She was down to 980 millibars this morning, and the satellite shows her really beginning to deepen--a very tight, swift little vortex"") and everything you ever wanted to know about hurricanes--but, still, the story and characters are of the standard, earthbound variety.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's