RULES OF ENGAGEMENT by Gordon Kent

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An impressive debut about a young naval intelligence officer who pursues his father’s murderer with Hamlet-like passion. It’s 1990, early in the Gulf War. Near the Iranian coast one night, a Navy A-6 off the carrier Roosevelt takes a hit and goes down. The plane was piloted by Commander Mick Craik, a flyer of undeniable skill and experience. “Tragic” is the universal response, though of course bad things happen in war. To Mick Craik’s son, however, it begins to appear that this might be a bad thing that didn’t have to happen. His friends tell him to back off: Lieutenants who make waves end by dropping their careers in the drink. But the haunted Alan can’t back off. Something intangible, implacable—a force as goading as a Danish ghost—compels him to probe for the truth no matter how inconvenient. Junior officer though he is, he’s extremely good at what he does, which is to convert raw data into usable intelligence, and he now asks irritating questions and postulates annoying theories. Applying the disciplines he’s been schooled in, he convinces himself that someone aboard his father’s carrier alerted the enemy that night, passing on the information that made Commander Craik a can’t-miss target. And if Alan’s right, the Navy has a mole to contend with. Senior people begin to stir restively. No longer is Alan isolated, and soon enough he finds himself an integral part of “Night watch”—a task force as fixated as he is on the pursuit and punishment of his father’s murderer. Because the pseudonymous authors, father and son, are former naval officers, authenticity is guaranteed. But this is a heartfelt first adventure as well, treating duty, honor, and commitment with such unabashed seriousness that readers may be led into rethinking them.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-14469-2
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2000




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