Here, Jake Grafton, naval aviator hero of Coonts' Flight of the Intruder and Final Flight, is the desk-bound bureaucrat trying to select the Navy's next super-plane under the watchful eyes of Soviet moles and greedy politicians. Captain Grafton U.S.N. is getting little pleasure from his Congressional Medal of Honor. The daring, suicidal action that won him the medal also put him in a bad light with the admirals (whose wishes he ignored) and scared the daylights out of his wife (who for weeks believed him dead). Grounded by his injuries, cool-shouldered by Mrs. Grafton, Jake is trying to reconcile himself to a life of inactivity--when he is summoned to the Pentagon and surprisingly assigned to a prestigious but very risky new job. He's to supervise the efforts of a team gathered to evaluate the prototypes of a new Stealth-y jet for the Navy's carriers, replacing a man who was murdered as he tried to carry out the same task. Grafton's orders are to work fast, make the best choice, avoid antagonizing any of the politicians whose careers ride on his decision, and keep everything he's doing out of sight of the Minotaur--the Kremlin's mole in the Pentagon who's piping all the hottest secrets in naval aviation off to Moscow. Grafton, ably assisted by his team of experts--including his protâ€šgâ€š Lt. Toad Tarkington and the object of Tarkington's lust, beautiful test pilot Lt. Rita Moravia--kicks the tires on a conventional Stealth model and an all-new bird with an antiradar gizmo that will set the Soviets back a couple of centuries if it works. Meanwhile, FBI agent Luis Camacho--who may or may not be loyal to either the US or the USSR or maybe even both--supervises the race to find and identify the Minotaur before he spills the beans about the antiradar device. Detection and thrills quite properly dominate the techno-biz. Although tire mystery here is not profound, the plot is solid enough and the characters are flesh and blood--a pleasant change from the usual technocartoon characters, and another likely winner for Coonts.