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A nerve-twanging suspense/adventure overloaded with doom and dread and centering on a tortured love-hate triangle. Anne Storey, a British citizen working in the Mideast as a hospital radio diagnostician, and Stephen Astell, a British geologist surveying for an oil company, are two survivors of the crash of the shaky aircraft sent to rescue Westerners from an Islamic revolution. They find themselves in Albania, ""small and poor and quarreling with everyone""--""pure"" in its Stalinist Communism. And in charge of the secret police there is Millosh Kederi, ""one of the most beautiful men Anne had ever seen."" The captive relationship, almost immediately sexual, has for Anne a polar attraction and repulsion: as a refugee from East Germany she understands the Socialist-state imperatives of repressive security but also glimpses the vulnerable man beneath the mask of tyrannizing officialdom. But Kederi's primary victim and the subject of horrifying cruelties is technically valuable Stephen--a sophisticated scholar and ""man of peace"" who's also a bit of a cheat, capable of cold rage, and endowed with a piercing ability to spot an enemy's weakness. So, throughout the torments of Stephen and Anne (in freezing mountain ranges and in a primitive mine), the interlocking struggles of the two men--heated rather than neutralized by the wary passivity of Anne--constrict their hopes for escape from one another. And finally there's a last escape attempt by Anne and Stephen--a fingernail-snapper--while the muscle-bound psychic wrestling of the characters and the impossibility of it all point to No Exit. A fast, savage tale, with grandly improbable characters and an exotic setting adding up to a bristling, if rather overwrought, action-romance ordeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1981
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan