The hawks in this airline-industry thriller are not planes but credit manipulators and lawyers, like Will Nye--he's Global Universal Airlines' general counsel, he's possibly in line for the top post when ""General"" Ben Buck retires, and he has his eye fixed on dreams of empire to the exclusion of a satisfying love life. (Will lost a leg in Vietnam, and ever since his wife couldn't bear his altered physical appearance, he's been bouncing from bed to bed.) When a GUA 747 goes down in Indiana, killing all aboard in the worst crash in U.S. aviation, Will is quickly on hand t o help check for causes and work on the legal angles, then finds himself yanked and sent by Ben Buck to Manhattan to get a $50 million loan from Metrobank with which to shore up GUA's falling stock value. During a meeting with GUA's Manhattan investment lawyer, Will discovers that this trusted old hand is in the pocket of J. Stephen Girard, a zillionaire recluse who is trying to take over GUA. Will Will's lovelife flower with the beautiful stewardess he's falling for? Is it Irish terrorists--or maybe tycoon Girard & Co.--who are planting bombs in GUA's 747s? Did Harold Robbins' Betsy suggest J. Stephen Girard's incestuous sex-life to first-novelist Amiel? In any case, this is derivative wheelerdealer suspense--with only the Hailey-like authenticity (especially when it comes to investments and insurance) to lift it slightly above the hackwork level.