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 A master of unholy terror, Easterman (The Judas Testament, 1994, etc.) makes effective use of a fire-obsessed name-brand villain in a vast conspiracy thriller whose good guys are as vicious as their abominable adversaries. Dublin is hosting a secret conference of Muslim clerics preparing to bargain with European and US diplomats, and Ireland's prime minister puts Declan Carberry, one of Eire's top cops, in charge of the security detail. While Declan would rather be pursuing the killer of his only daughter (who was caught in crossfire of what appeared to be a reprisal raid by Ulster nationalists), he perks up considerably upon learning that Amina Bustani, a long-lost love from Lebanon, is also minding the ecclesiastics. Before deliberations can begin, however, a mysterious commando unit kidnaps the delegates to the preliminary parley. When the abductors make no immediate demands, it dawns on the authorities that they may be embroiled in something other than an Arab turf war. Declan soon determines that they are, but he's barred from the hunt because higher-ups--in league with Britain's MI5 and the CIA--are using the captives to ransom UK/US intelligence agents held hostage throughout the Middle East. As it happens, their chosen instrument, a red-neck messiah thought to have perished in Waco, Texas, has his own agenda, which he pursues from an island stronghold offshore from County Kerry. Hellbent on rescuing Amina (who was taken prisoner with her charges), Declan, with an assist from a lissome IRA lassie and a hit man sent to Ireland by Hizbollah, finally tracks down the fanatic fundamentalist before he blows his rocky redoubt and all on it to kingdom come. Utterly seductive twaddle that pits semi-complex protagonists against one another in dubious battles rooted in rule-or-ruin religious and secular hatreds.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017742-X
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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