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by David Axton

Pub Date: May 17th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09395-0
Publisher: St. Martin's

A Cornish gentlewoman, her widowed, American father-in-law, a terminally ill cancer patient, a depressed fellow, and a boor steal a used B52 from a parking lot in Arizona—and take it to Libya to exercise a little personal diplomacy. Well, apparently it's possible, there being goodness knows how many bombers lying about unused what with a downsized American Air Force and a reasonable expectation that you can leave your keys in a plane and expect it to be there when you get back. But plane thieves Mrs. Tamasin Masterson and her late husband's retired, USAF, Vietnam-hero father, Bartholomew ``Bat'' Masterson, are no mindless joyriders. They've recruited a crew to fly with them to the Sahara to bomb to kingdom come international terrorist Tariq Talal and his gang of international terrorist scum as punishment for the murder of Captain Edward Masterson. This high-minded crew are well over the Pacific before anyone back at the Air Force base realizes that the plane is not headed for Australia, where it's supposed to be going or that it has, in fact, disappeared. It's up to clever intelligence officer Rebecca ``Becks'' Laird to figure out where the plane actually is and why anyone would want to steal it. She gets no help from her commanding officer, who is shorter than she is and hates her, or from the CIA—who could use their satellites to help but, for reasons not revealed until much too late, won't. Meanwhile, in the Libyan desert training camp targeted for destruction, budding terrorist Adem Elhaggi discovers the clay feet of the warrior he has idolized, and in England, Mrs. Masterson's noble brother, himself a fighter pilot of considerable distinction, prepares to rescue his sister from the disaster she must surely face. The author—a pseudonymous Brit who puts mountains in Minnesota and ``ain't'' in the mouth of almost every American— gives himself far too many pages to reach an outcome that will surprise no one.