This first techno-thriller from Bond, who collaborated with Tom Clancy on Red Storm Rising, tells the story of a power grab by the son of North Korea's dictator--a grab perfectly timed to benefit from South Korean disarray when civil unrest and American politics lead to drastic revision of America's military policy for that country. The ambition of an amoral senatorial staffer contributes directly to the outbreak of hot non-nuclear warfare in Korea. The staffer, keen to keep his empty-headed senatorial boss in the news and eminently reelectable, points the dim politico in the direction of South Korea, where students are protesting their government's repressive policies. With a little meddling from North Korean provocateurs, the protests have become thoroughly nasty, so the Senator is led to sponsor a bill gutting America's backing of the South Korean regime and mandating a removal of American troops from the peninsula. National Security Staffer Blake Fowler puts together a fast study proving that withdrawal would be a disaster; but his boss rewrites the conclusions to agree with public sentiment, and the bill passes. The bill couldn't be better for North Korean dictatorial heir-apparent Kim Jong II, who rounds up a gang of bellicose senior officers and gives them an unauthorized go ahead to pull a sneak attack on the South. That the attack is not a walkover is due to the wiles of American General lack McLaren, who has smelled the danger in the air and dragged his feet on the pullout. When the Reds charge across the Demilitarized Zone, roll through the completely surprised border troops, and head for Seoul, it's up to McLaren to hold back the tide until an embarrassed US can send reinforcements. A believable scenario for a limited war on the peninsula and some good, gritty battle-scenes are the attractions here, more than making up for a far-fetched romance and heavy-handed political skulduggery.