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Unspeakably nasty Iraqi microbes threaten to overturn the victory of Desert Storm. The ill wind that blew pilot-author Nance (Final Approach, 1990, etc.) to the Persian Gulf sent him home with plenty of thoroughly realistic background detail and an entirely too plausible plot about biological warfare as it might have been waged by Saddam Hussein. Here, with the invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent war, Iraqi scientist Shakir Abbas finds he can no longer defend his dreadful research work for the Butcher of Baghdad. Sneaking away from his laboratory, he crosses the desert on foot and informs the allies that the fatal virus he has developed, isolated, and reproduced is about to be deployed against them by a desperate Saddam. Air Force Colonel Will Westerman gets the assignment to plan and execute an operation to seize the 20 vials of virus from Abbas's laboratory. By coincidence, Westerman's copilot for the venture is an old friend, a commercial pilot whose reserve unit was called up for the war. Mechanical failures plague the risky operation from the beginning, and when the task group finally reaches the lab and begins to destroy the viruses, Abbas learns that two of the vials left early for Baghdad. Driven to eradicate the horror he invented, Abbas slips away from the Americans and chases the virus to Saddam's doorstep. Crash-landing in the desert, the fleeing Americans become the target of the Republican Guard. All paths cross in Baghdad. Pleasantly terrifying military thriller. White-knuckle flight scenes more than make up for some silly business about the woman both pilots loved.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Crown