A terrorist-for-hire hijacks a jumbo jet containing her son, her estranged husband, and the Israeli agent whose daughter was the terrorist's first victim. The disintegration of Lebanon provides the disturbing background to Trenhaile's (The Gates of Exquisite View, 1988; The Mah-Jongg Spies, 1986; etc.) latest complex and intelligent thriller. There are as many agendas as there are passengers on the flight from London to Kuala Lumpur. Scholar Colin Raleigh is on his way to the Far East to deliver a paper at a conference, bringing with him his 14-year-old son Robbie, ostensibly so that the boy may visit his high-living expatriate Lebanese great-grandmother on a side visit to Australia. Up ahead in first class--and in disguise- -rides Leila Hanif, Robbie's mother and Colin's wife, who disappeared from their lives two years ago in Manhattan. Scattered among their fellow passengers are a number of fanatical Muslim terrorists and a near equal number of Mossad agents. The Raleighs' trip is far more than a casual academic junket; it's been orchestrated every step of the way. Robbie, the only innocent in the lot, is on the trip as bait. But for whom? Is the Mossad controlling Leila Hanif's movements or vice versa? The plane puts down, despite the efforts of the Israelis but in accordance with Leila's plans, on the Yemeni desert, and there, in the glare of a savage sun, everyone's secrets come to light. As the passengers bake, meanwhile, diplomats deal, and Robbie's great-grandmother picks her way through the ruins of Beirut, looking for a way to save the boy. It will mean negotiating with her son and grandson, two of the dirtiest dealers in Lebanese history. Hopeless, because it's about Lebanon, but a first-rate read nonetheless.