THE TORCH by Glover Wright


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Millionaire colonel Jonathan Fraser is a terminally ill ex-SAS commander who believes that Soviet-appeasing British politicians sabotaged his last African mission (a dozen of his mercenaries were captured); so he assembles a kamikaze team of SAS/mercenary types to seize the Soviet embassy in London: ""one final gesture that will make this bored, pampered world sit up and take notice."" Brainwashed, put through super-stress tests, promised one million pounds if they survive, the team of nine takes the Embassy easily--calling in a bomb scare, then posing as a bomb disposal unit. And Fraser announces his demand: he wants those dozen mercenaries in an African Marxist prison released. . . or he'll broadcast the Soviet spy secrets stored at the Embassy. The Soviets react by sending a team of 25 East Germans to storm the Embassy: all are wiped out. The British react by studying Fraser's psychology, capturing Fraser's lookout man, trying to trick one of Fraser's men into betraying him (Fraser coldly executes this poor dupe). So, with all else failing, the Russians send a jet fighter to penetrate British radar and destroy the Embassy. . . but both countries then agree to avoid this solution (the British are welcome to shoot down the Kremlin jet) and instead collaborate on a scheme involving a faked surrender (via TV tape) to Fraser's demand, KGB marksmen, and SAS commandos disguised as the released mercenaries. Thus, there's a final bloodbath with Sam 7 missiles, bullets flying, and that Russian jet (which was never shot down). Strictly routine terrorist/counter-terrorist action--slightly enhanced by the British anti-Communist angle (the terrorists become national semi-heroes), not enhanced at all by a stiff love story (""you raped me with your kiss"") between a tender Russian hostage and one of the tough mercenaries.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1980
Publisher: Putnam