Email this review


Searching for lost airplanes and stolen gold through the icy wastes of Greenland--in another routine aeronautics-thriller from the author of Skytrap (p. 220). Narrator-hero Luke Spence, court-martialed Vietnam vet and savvy ferry pilot in arctic areas, has just lost his job, getting unfairly arrested for some serious flying violations. So, when US entrepreneur Rollo Scarth offers both work and a way to avoid those charges, Spence reluctantly agrees to work for Scarth: the mission is a grueling one to Greenland--where a squadron of Mustangs disappeared, returning from WW II, in 1945. (Scarth refurbishes and sells old planes). They've barely landed there, however, when Palmarsson, one of their local guides, is harpoon-murdered; Spence now learns that they're after more than old hardware--the planes were carrying stolen Nazi gold. So, with distrust ever growing among the trekkers (who include Scarth's gorgeous secretary and Palmarsson's gorgeous Eskimo widow), the expedition--in a small single-engined aircraft--begins in earnest; despite mysterious sabotage along the way, frostbite, and other outdoors ordeals, they do at last locate one of the planes; Spence manages to bed beth women. But mutual suspicion and ""gold fever"" lead to violence within the group--followed by a Cessna attack from the real villains, with a mini-air-battle and other showdowns before the fadeout. Smith writes in pulp-clichÉs, especially when concocting sultry-woman dialogue (""You're a hard-hearted bastard, Luke Spence"") or hilariously inept pseudo-Americanese. (""If I thought your way I'd be selling bootlaces in the Bronx."") Spence--who was really innocent of those Vietnam charges, of course--is a stiff-upper-bore. But rabid fans of aviation action may be satisfied by the sputtering engines, the snowblind navigation, and the moderately effective Greenland setting.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1984
Publisher: Norton