CIA agent Richard Owen (Sunflower) is in Mexico, searching amid the Mayan ruins of Uxmal for clues to some Big Secret, clues provided by his old nemesis Michelangelo, an ex-CIA mercenary hit-man, Then, by coincidence (), four US congressmen are seized by terrorists while visiting Uxmal--and Owen, attempting to save them, becomes one of the hostages. What are the terrorists after? What's the Big Secret? Well, those puzzles are put on hold for 100 pages or so--while weak, boozy President Henry Brendan deals with the usual hostage tensions. . . and while CIA agent Emma Thatcher zips down to Uxmal to rescue Owen (standard derring-do, with a nasty snake or two). Then Owen, who decides not to be rescued after all, concentrates on searching for the Big Secret in the ruins: the Real Truth about the death of Brendan's predecessor, Pres. Ben Riker, who supposedly died in a skiing accident. Was Riker actually assassinated--by hit-man Michelangelo? If so, who hired him to booby-trap the Presidential ski-boots? (Actually, Michelangelo didn't realize the Prez was the intended victim!) Could it have been, as the clues suggest, President Brendan himself And is Michelangelo now planning to kill Brendan out of revenge for the trickery Meanwhile, the terrorists suddenly decide to call off their operation--suggesting to Owen that the whole hostage crisis was a fake. . . set up by Someone in Washington! But why? Who? Is it the same who who arranged for Riker's assassination? And so it goes--as Owen now leaps from Uxmal to Cape Kennedy, where Michelangelo (in supreme disguise) is planning to kill Pres. Brendan, whom he believes (mistakenly) to have been the mastermind behind all the skulduggery. Silly, ragged, harmless conspiracy-suspense: faceless characters, cartoonish codes and weapons, a catchall plot with okay action. . . and enough confusing implausibilities to make Robert Ludlum seem downright level-headed.