FORGED IN HONOR by Leonard B. Scott


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 Action veteran Scott (The Iron Men, 1993, etc.) makes effective use of Burma as the key setting for an unlikely but lively narcothriller. When four US nationals (including the DEA's station head) are gunned down and the American embassy firebombed in Rangoon, the White House calls Joshua Hawkins back to duty. A retired Special Forces colonel, ``Hawk'' came of age in the Burmese hinterland during the early 1960's. While his missionary parents sought converts for Christianity, young Hawk trained as a Shan horseman with lifelong friend Stephen Kang, son of a legendary warlord known as the Chindit (lion). The lads went their separate ways--Stephen (despite his Chinese heritage) into his impoverished country's civil service, Hawk into the US Army--but kept in touch. More than 30 years on, in the aftermath of the murders, Washington recruits Hawk for a covert reconnaissance operation. The ex-Green Beret and his team uncover a devilish conspiracy to underwrite the overthrow of the Burmese government with money that Hong Kong's ruthless triads have advanced the military on condition they'll be supplied with enough refined heroin to take over America's urban drug markets. Stephen, now Burma's deputy finance minister, has been coerced into ensuring that the dope makes it through US Customs and into designated distribution channels. He eventually eludes his captors and finds refuge with Hawk, who's living on a houseboat moored in the Potomac. Several gun battles later, the blood brothers return to Rangoon in time to foil what was supposed to be a bloodless coup before the very eyes of media reps from the world's major capitals. An improbable adventure with above-average entertainment values--thanks to savvy background on an exotic locale, nonstop violence yielding an unusually high body count, and human-scale characters.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-345-39009-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995


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