Former naval aviator Stella's first novel--about Navy fliers who bomb North Vietnam harassed by that country's leading MIG pilot and by the bizarre roles of engagement that the US has imposed. Glamorous F-4 Phantom jets, the usual stars of Vietnam aerial adventures, give way here to the little A-4 Skyhawks that dropped more bombs--as well as to the Sea King helicopters that picked up downed pilots throughout the war. A-4 pilot Lt. Jim Campbell is the story's hero, launching from the aged American aircraft carrier Barbary Coast along with his flight-school friend and wingman Lt. Larry Jordan. The two officers are days away from a rendezvous with their wives in Bangkok when Jordan takes a hit from enemy Major Quang and has to eject over North Vietnam, where he is captured and imprisoned. Jordan's wife quickly finds out how little information and cooperation will be forthcoming from the Navy--and is more than ready to fall in with a proposal to go to Laos, accompanied by Mrs. Campbell, to contact the North Vietnamese on her own. The women have unwittingly become part of the communist propaganda strategy. At the same time, Campbell--having himself been downed and then escaping--has learned where Larry Jordan is imprisoned and formulates a daring and unauthorized plan to spring him. Crisp, competent, fast-moving military adventure.