A second high-tech, high-thrills, low-art military aviation tale from the author of last year's best-selling The Flight of the Old Dog, this one casting the aeronautical battle into outer space. It's 1992 and glasnost is nowhere to be seen as the Soviets gear up to invade Iran--their main fear not American nuclear reprisal but SDI, successfully tested as the novel opens and headquartered in Armstrong Space Station, a.k.a. ""The Silver Tower,"" the US's first permanent space station. Riding high in orbit is a crew that includes young Gen. Jason Saint-Michael and heroine Ann Page, Navy brat and civilian scientist in charge of Silver Tower's Skybolt laser. When the Soviets invade, drawing American ships into battle (Ann's Admiral dad dies in one skirmish), the unparalleled surveillance provided by Silver Tower blocks the Soviets' advance, forcing them into drastic action: Russian cosmonaut Alesander Govorov and another pilot take to the skies in Elektron space planes to waste the heavily armed space station. Quick-trigger Ann blasts one Elektron with her Skybolt laser during the drawn-out battle--but Govorov, aided by land-based weapons, cripples Silver Tower and kills all Yanks but Ann and Jason, who take refuge in an attached space shuttle. An earth-bound interlude--Jason recovers from the bends, Ann from her dad's death, and both from precoital shyness as they sleep together--leads to an accelerated rehash of the first space battle: in order to stymie Russian victory threatened by the deployment of the main Soviet fleet, Ann and Jason scoot back up and repair Silver Tower, only to find themselves once again under fire from pesky Govorov and his Elektrons. As earth-based battles rage below, the Yanks duke it out with the Russians up above in a slam-bang finale that glories in American might from sky to shining sea. Fun-paced, goofy, patriotic comic-book fare showcasing Brown's impressive skill at enmeshing action in vivid technological detail. Never mind the silly-putty characters: this one's a rocket, likely to soar at least as high as the Old Dog.