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Another really rotten thriller by the author of The Styx Complex (1977). Braxton C. Willet, an ex-socialite from Boston who is now out to make it on his own, visits artist brother Will's studio in Milan and finds it in disarray, with Will's finger under a book. Has Will been kidnapped by Italian terrorists? No, he's actually been taken by the elegant Covedonga family, Basques who have a plan for neutron-bombing the Communist headquarters in Madrid, taking over Spain, and restoring freedom to the Basques. The clues for Braxton and Will's girlfriend Helene: some tracings of ancient coins, an old Babylonian cup, and a hillside painting that Will was having framed. Meanwhile, assassins are taking shots at the couple, so they flee Milan and are flown by beautiful Isabel Covedonga to her family bull ranch and castle in the Pyrenees, where they hope to find the hillside that Will painted. Chasing around various chapels and churches, they at last uncover a cellar crammed with treasures from the Temple of Herod. Enter the Irgun, led by Schrangler. This Jewish group has stolen three neutron warheads from the States and is trading them with the elder Covedonga for the treasure, which they will then return to Israel. An underground tribunal of Basques, led by a vicious fat Catholic cardinal, tries Braxton, Will, and Helene. . . and sentences them to be burnt alive. Isabel, who has seen through the big plot, deserts her family when her father has her illegitimate son burned to death in a chapel blaze, and leads the betrayed Jews into the castle just as the warheads are about to go off. Ludicrous.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Dodd, Mead