THE LAST TRUMP by John E. Gardner


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It's the mid-1990s, and Russia has conquered Europe, with Britain (rotted with leftists from within) surrendering to a Soviet "peace-keeping force" and the US "neutralized" by having its intelligence apparatus totally sabotaged. There's only one hope to avoid nuclear holocaust (China's ready to decimate the whole western world): Operation Golgotha, a plan created back in the 1970s that involves missiles already secreted throughout Europe (aimed at the USSR), with details of the plan divided up and hypnotically implanted in the minds of assorted undercover British agents (a novelist, a theater director, etc.). So the US Prez (Ted Kennedy, apparently) activates Golgotha by sneaking US-based British agent Paul Fadden back into England, complete with the code-sentence that will unlock the Golgotha info from these hypnotized agents, whom he must identify and track down one by one. Inevitably Fadden falls in love with one of the agents, and--in various guises, with USSR/British authorities hot on their trail--the on-the-run lovers locate the supersecret underground-in-a-forest control room where they can deploy the 250 nuclearwarheaded missiles now hidden in Scotland and elsewhere. So the finale has Fadden and loyal Mary holed up in the control center (with the Russians trying to bomb them out), waiting for the go-ahead signal from the Prez--who's at a summit in neutral Dublin, trying to use the missile threat (one is actually fired, into unpopulated Siberia) to blackmail the USSR into full retreat. Nonsensical, pseudo-Buchanesque folderol, of course--not helped much by cutesy 1990s touches (Bernstein's Eighth Symphony is played, Dame V. Redgrave hobbles by on a cane) or lots of lazy, cliched prose. But Gardner (author of The Werewolf Trace etc., and not to be confused with the US novelist of the same name) is always an agreeably straightforward storyteller, confident and professional enough to squeak by with even so foolish a concoction as this one.
Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1980
ISBN: 0425095827
Page count: 292pp
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1980


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