Richard and Robin Mariner have another close encounter with a dangerous Russian mercenary they’ve crossed swords with before.
Benin Light is the beacon that guides ships to remote and forbidding Granville Harbour, on the western coast of Africa, close to key business interests of suave shipping magnate Mariner (High Wind in Java, 2007, etc.), who helps Captain Morgan Hand maneuver his supertanker, Prometheus V, into dock. Though capable, Morgan has never dealt with the uncertainty of Granville. She also has a bit of a crush on her boss, which may explain why she doesn’t bristle at his dominance. Initial snafus multiply, and Mariner’s helicopter comes under fire on his way to Heritage Mariner. More unpleasant surprises follow. After Richard’s wife and fellow adventurer Robin hooks up with him at the opulent Royal Lodge Hotel, the pair heads for a morning business meeting with Felix Makarov and his sidekick Asov, whose explicit instructions not to be disturbed before noon are backed up by a phalanx of former Russian Militia members led by Sgt. Voroshilov, who nearly killed Robin in an earlier Mariner scrape in Archangel. The political picture is murky, with unsettling evidence that these mercenaries are henchmen of the president or, worse, control him. Arrested on a trumped-up charge, Mariner is no sooner extricated than he’s thrown into a life-or-death chase to rescue some kidnapped members of his party.
Another brisk retro caper from Tonkin, with a colorful cast, abundant action and many, many close calls.