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Even the most ardent pacifists may run for their guns after considering the ease with which America's cities are terrorized in the latest by Air Force veteran Brown (Chains of Command, 1993, etc.). Admiral Ian Hardcastle tirelessly warns Americans of their vulnerability to terrorist attacks in the illusory calm of the post--Cold War climate. His extreme warnings prove justified when Henri Cazaux, who was once tortured and sodomized by American soldiers stationed in his native Belgium, gets hold of an airplane and uses it to drop a large amount of explosives on Los Angeles International Airport, wreaking death and destruction after a thrilling chase by F-16 fighter jets. This incineration is so easy that he targets more airports around the country, enlisting (i.e., coercing) into his service his investment banker, his Colombian and British advisers, and numerous mercenaries, all of whom would die for Cazaux, not out of loyalty but out of fear of death at his hand should they fail. A multidepartmental task force assembles in Washington, but that damn Democratic administration just won't listen to military men like Hardcastle, learning its lesson only when Cazaux's master plan -- an air/surface assault on Washington, DC -- threatens our most treasured national monuments. Brown has mastered this genre, as seen in the riveting plane chases and the ease and humor with which he vents his own political frustrations: His parody of Bill and Hillary Clinton will amuse all partisans, but his contempt for modern women, placed here in positions of power but too incompetent to be of use, achieves misogyny with Cazaux's rape of his psychic, whose incredible response makes a mockery of real violence against women. Super chase scenes that don't let up until the planes run out of fuel or blow up, and a perfect villain who refuses to be exterminated until the last page.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1994
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Putnam