THE SWORD OF ORION by Robin A. White


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 Equipped for a special detective mission in the New World Order, a Navy sub-hunting plane goes to anarchic Afghanistan--in the latest technothriller by White (The Flight From Winter's Shadow, 1991, etc.). In the final few days of his command of an airborne patrol squadron in Japan, Navy Commander Richard Donovan gets last-minute orders to quash a minor mutiny. The pilot of a super-secretly modified P3 Orion patrol plane refuses to have anything further to do with his copilot, Lt. J.P. Harper, a pretty young woman who seems to attract accidents. But when Donovan takes Harper up for a test flight, he finds that she's a gifted flier who has accidents only because she flies aggressively. Donovan is perfectly happy to take Harper and her airplane, which has been rigged to ``sniff out'' radioactive emissions on yet another last-minute errand: The Russians have requested US assistance in retrieving a nuclear warhead stolen by a fanatic Afghani faction. Donovan, Harper, and crew fly into Kabul and meet liaison Pavel Markelov--a semi-suave ex-KGB officer who's gone into a lucrative line of international consulting. He has in tow Captain Aleksandr Belenko, still in the KGB and not very well reconstructed. Belenko saw a lot of action in Afghanistan, and he's keen to find out why his old Afghan flame would've involved herself with the hijackers. Meanwhile, Kabul, where everybody's staying, is the worst place on earth. Nothing works and no one governs. Rival warring gangs shoot anybody who moves; leftover stinger missiles still chase any plane trying to use the airport. But Harper, Donovan, and their magnificent turboprop have a job to do and they do it. Belenko has a job to do and he does it. Markelov, however, has more jobs than he has let on, and it would be better if he didn't do any of them. Gritty, occasionally outlandish, but fast-moving adventure in an intriguing setting.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1993
ISBN: 0-517-58807-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993


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