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The intricate but essentially humdrum melodramatics here--PLO terrorists, nuclear blackmail, double-agents--are hardly worthy of St. James' zippy narrative gifts (cf. The Money Stones); but readers who don't mind total predictability may find some low-level diversion. St. James' hero is English reporter Harry Brand, who (as seen in flashbacks) was in Palestine in 1947 and briefly became the lover of a sort of Arab Joan of Arc, siring a daughter named Suzette. Years later, Harry's lover is dead (in a massacre), but he manages to find Suzy and her half-brother Negib, a PLO terrorist; they spurn his help, however, and Suzy grows up with Negib in Paris, becoming a student activist in the Sixties, an international lawyer, and then a PLO biggie. So now it's 1974, and Harry is approached by a US/British/French spy team determined to get his help in contacting Suzy: she is part of a terrorist band which, having hijacked a shipment of plutonium at sea, is showing its clout by blowing up mini-bombs off the Scotland coast. Harry has mixed feelings about all this, especially since Suzy and Negib are funding the PLO by selling heroin to the US. And it soon becomes clear that blood is not thicker than water when Negib attacks him with a knife (Harry kills him in self-defense) and when Suzy, ever loyal to super-PLO man Abou, delivers the terrorists' ultimatum: if the West Bank is not returned to the Palestinians (along with reparations), a big bomb will go off. . . perhaps at a big summit conference in Bonn. Finally, however, Suzy realizes she's been a dupe (Abou is really an agent for Red China), and the bomb is defused--with the help of the KGB. Second-rate merchandise despite the classy packaging; St. James is capable of far better suspense than this.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0708910920
Publisher: Atheneum