Brainy and brawny NSA agent Bill Lane, who almost single- handedly prevented a Russo-American war in old pro Flannery's Winner Take All (1994), does another star turn in foiling a dastardly plot to destabilize the already volatile Mideast. When Frances Shipley (a comely SIS operative seconded to a UN peacekeeping mission) receives satellite photos documenting a hit- and-run raid on a secret Iranian naval base, she shares the news with Lane (a former lover). Aware that the Islamic theocracy has acquired four submarines from Moscow, the quick-witted G-man concludes that die-hard disciples of Saddam Hussein have penetrated the coastal installation to determine whether the subs have atomic weaponry. The US President fears the worst, and Lane is off to inspect the sub pens for himself. Betrayed by someone high in the American government, he's taken prisoner by SAVAK, but not before learning that the Iranians have entered into an unholy alliance with Ukraine. Freed on the strength of an upper-echelon promise that he'll assassinate the ousted but ever-dangerous Saddam, Lane next tangles with a villainous Kiev agent named Valeri Yernin. Yernin goes on to hijack a sub on a shakedown cruise in the Persian Gulf, and sinks a Saudi patrol boat. While this action brings Saudi Arabia to the brink of war with Iran, Yernin has an even grander scheme: to lay nuclear waste to Israel as well as to America's Eastern seaboard and place the blame on Tehran. Before he can launch the deadly missiles, however, Lane and a crew of SEALs from the Sixth Fleet stop him cold. Escaping once again, Yernin visits Kuwait long enough to kidnap Shipley and spirit her to Saddam's desert hideaway. The resilient Lane tracks him down once more. He manages to rescue Shipley, expose an American traitor, and kill the erstwhile Iraqi strongman, but Yernin makes yet another successful getaway. . . . A wild-and-woolly romp that should delight fans of Flannery's apocalyptic thrillers.