Two young snipers--one Russian, one German--stalk each other in besieged Stalingrad. More WW II action from the author of The Man Who Was Saturday (1985), The Golden Express (1984), etc. In the autumn of 1942, as the Nazi and Red armies have fought each other to stalemate on the banks of the freezing Dnieper River, the balance of power has come to rest with Karl Meister and Yury Antonov, each just 18 years old. Sharpshooters Meister and Antonov have become famous in the siege, their kill-lists broadcast and glorified by their own propagandists. Apart from shooting skills and age, the boys have little in common: Meister is the sheltered son of a prosperous Hamburg party member; Antonov is a Siberian peasant. Their minds, however, have begun to work more and more alike. Since the irresistible Nazis have run up against the immovable Russians, generals from each side have decided that the only way to tip the balance is for one of the snipers to shoot the other--and it has become vital for each to know what the other is thinking. Advised by their older and wiser enlisted aides, led to. ward one another by a nine-year, old Russian go-between, the young men stalk each other through the rabble of the city, becoming ever more disillusioned with war, generals, and their grim assignments. Their loyalties lie increasingly with their brotherhood. Based on a tree situation, the plot has been overburdened with portentous parallels, but it's still a good war story.