A TALK WITH THE ANGELS by Desmond Meiring


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Set in Cairo on the eve of an attempted coup, Meiring's knowledgeably hard-nosed political thriller (his eighth) is also a timely look at the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. The Angels of the Sword are a fanatical and highly secret Islamic fundamentalist group whose goal is to overthrow the present government of Egypt and turn the country into another Iran--the revolution there ""hung before them mesmeric and constant as a great star, giving hope."" Their leader is charismatic Abbas Sidki, a disillusioned former commando hero who plans to personally assassinate President Mubarak as the latter motorcades through Cairo with Ronald Reagan, who is on a tour of the Middle East. But Colonel Daniel Gad of the Cairo police learns of the existence of the Angels through an informant (who is then caught and brutally murdered by Sidki) and begins to track them down. The novel becomes a good, solid police procedural as the trail leads to Tel Aviv and London, where a member of the Mossad (and good friend of Gad's) is killed when he discovers the Angels are being supported by an international cabal of wealthy businessmen. With an angered Gad closing in, the Angels kidnap his American girlfriend, Bridgette; she's rescued in the end, and Sidki foiled--but not before he shoots, from his point of view, the wrong President. This is a competent, well-plotted novel, and Gad and Sidki, as opposite poles, are strong and worthy adversaries. But what makes the book more than just another thriller is Meiring's inside knowledge--he knows Cairo like the back of his hand, and makes you know it like yours. And his treatment of Islamic fundamentalism is at once scary and enlightening--Meiring's Angels are not faceless terrorists, but intelligent and highly dedicated young people with very real grievances. All in all, an excitingly authentic story of modern political fanatacism.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's