The balance of power in hapless Azerbaijan hinges on the fate of a kidnapped young woman--one Kelly Trost, snatched from her humanitarian wanderings by someone who killed her interpreter and all nearby witnesses. Despite this brutality, nobody would care about Kelly if she weren't the daughter of Senator Mitchell Trost, who has the power to block an oil pipeline scheduled to snake through Azerbaijan--and whom the Sons of Salvation, who claim responsibility for the kidnapping, consider the spawn of Satan. In truth, Mitch Trost doesn't wield nearly the power to appease the Sons by making the US sever diplomatic ties with Israel and fire all Jewish Americans in government posts. But his shadow is long enough to get action from the deceptively colorless US ambassador; from the Deputy Chief of Mission, Arthur Vandergraaf; from well-connected Oak Leaf Oil executive Dick Fleming; and from Lt. Col. Evan Burton, the temporary military representative in Baku. The trouble is that except Burton, a vintage steely-eyed Peters hero, the rest of the double-talking cast have agendas of their own--agendas that don't necessarily involve the freeing of Kelly Trost. The Azeris want the local Russian strongman blamed for her kidnapping; the silver-tongued diplomats and oilmen are wangling over which countries that pipeline should traverse; and even Burton's lover, Hedwig Seghers, is ready to betray her second-most-important allegiance, to her fiancÇe the German ambassador, to her first, which isn't Burton. When Burton goes hunting for Kelly, he finds that her abductors, whoever they are, can't hold on to her, or even save their own skins; and with every new twist on the original snatch, Peters (A Perfect Soldier, 1995, etc.) raises the stakes further. Long before the furious climax, a lot more than an oil pipeline has come to depend on the fate of Kelly Trost. Peters manages to be both rousing (definite summer movie possibilities here) and deeply disturbing. His portrait of the snakes mapping out current East-West diplomacy may make you long for the verities of the Cold War.