Guess what species the title of this ""timely"" novel about the International Committee of the Red Cross and Vietnam refers to? Martin Neveau, ICRC's number two man, tries everything (including blackmail) to dissuade his new, rather mysterious boss, Pierre Salem, from pushing a resolution condemning U.S. atrocities. Nobody is what they seem, neither Neveau, possibly as Jewish as the American wife he finds rather too ebullient, nor Salem, hardly the man everyone thinks he is, or even the Viet Cong, who have been indulging in their own version of biochemical warfare -- the bubonic plague. Counterpointed against high-style political maneuvering is the more believable stink of Vietnam, where surgeon Adam Thomson cuts off legs that could be saved in other circumstances and discovers that God is in nobody's foxhole. A rather implausible, intermittently entertaining plea for peace that best makes its point when it deserts glibness for the grim realities of the jungle -- a long way from sterile Switzerland and committees that never decide anything.