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A surplus of sparklers threatens the stability of Russia, the Vatican, the South African diamond monopoly, and Arkansas.

Arkansas? Indeed. Not far under the Arkansas topsoil lie zillions of the gem-grade lovelies, a discovery made in the 1920s but hushed up by a few murders and the distribution of cash from the bottomless pockets of Waterboer, a diamond monopoly very like the real-life DeBeers. Since the 19th century, Waterboer has controlled the business either by buying up the output of every mine in the world or by shutting them down. But the secret of the Arkansas gusher is about to be blown, as the property has passed into the hands of eerily handsome Max MacLean, clean-as-a-whistle scion of a Sicilian mob family. Concurrent with Max’s purchase of the mine that could shake the jewelry world is a bit of trustbusting at the Department of Justice, where cigar puffing, cowboy boot wearing, former Catholic schoolboy and ex-corporate hotshot Patrick Carlton has been yanked from the case he’s been on for months and ordered by his creepy boss to settle a claim by yet another would-be Arkansas diamond miner. Even though he’s up against a monstrous and evil Manhattan law firm, Carlton’s able to get a surprisingly generous settlement. Could Waterboer be behind the deal? Oh, yes. As they are behind the machinations in poor old Russia, where retro-Stalinists are itching to parley tons of diamonds filched from the flow to Waterboer into a coup d’etat. How to fix? Call in the College of Cardinals. They’ve got their own stash, don’t they? Sorting all this out to the advantage of the free world and free markets will take Carlton to the frozen north, where rogue submarines wander, and to the Eternal City, where rogue Cardinals wander and will require much assistance from and, ultimately, a pleasant tumble with, lovely rookie Department of Justice prosecuting attorney Erika Wassenaar. Even the mob helps out.

Tom Clancy for the legal set.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 2002
ISBN: 1-57071-978-0
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002