Email this review


 Just the ticket for everybody still smarting from our ineffectual Gulf War victory: a Day of the Jackal-esque fantasy recounting an elaborate postwar plot to assassinate Saddam. A discreetly indirect overture from a government minister leads to security expert Ed Howard, a Special Boat Service veteran, who, agreeing to take on the job for a $10 million payoff, recruits a crack British team, from volatile Mideast expert Johnny Bourne to Scottish sniper Danny MacDonald. Bolstered by enviable inside information, meticulous planning, periodic bouts of restorative sex with brave, pliant women, and a list of supplies--including outsized stores of frozen peas, margarine, and an inflatable raft--Howard and Co. follow an ingenious blueprint to Saddam's birthday celebration in his hometown of Tikrit and dig in for the one shot they'll be allowed. Even as they're lining up the target in their crosshairs, though, trouble has already struck. John Kearwin, an eager beaver reconnaissance analyst in D.C., has picked up their trail via satellite recon and--courtesy of some Clancy-esque technological wizardry--traced them back to Britain and forward to Tikrit. After an initial abortive attempt to wipe out the assassins--because only Saddam can hold together the strong Iraq the US needs to balance Iranian power in the Mideast--the top dogs in Britain and America (a bunch of fictional bozos named George Bush, John Major, Brent Scowcroft, John Kelly, Robert Gates et al.) trade accusations and try to keep a step ahead of the plotters even as Kearwin and other underlings sentimentally cheer them on. British first-novelist Mason still has a few tricks up his decorated sleeve; you'll love the details of exactly what happens to Saddam, and the reaction to assassination rumors back in Baghdad, even if you guess the surprise saved for the very end. A good time is promised to everyone in the novel's huge, exasperated target audience. (Film rights to United Artists)

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93709-9
Page count: 484pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993


NonfictionVOICES, PLACES by David Mason
by David Mason
NonfictionTHE POPE'S BOOKBINDER by David Mason
by David Mason