From the author of Sandcatcher (1980): an action remake of The Caine Mutiny set in the Egyptian desert of 1944, long on explosives but short on characterization, lust as HQ of the 208 Group, Royal Air Force Egypt, gets orders to assist a big landing with an immediate major airdrop, a radio distress-signal is received from its 87 Maintenance Unit in Marazag. What can it mean? The harried group commander sends off a 60-man regiment by truck to relieve and investigate the beleaguered unit. Also sneaking along: Flight Officer Jane Roper, who fears that something's happened to her husband--the unit adjutant at Mazarag. And once inside the unit area the rescue regiment finds that the men of the 87th have barricaded themselves into the base cinema and are holding their Commanding Officer prisoner. So the novel then alternates between the rescue plan--how to smoke out the mutineers or get C.O. Gantley free?--and the story of Gantley's Capt. Queeg-like insanity: insecure, abandoned by his wife, Gantley has compensated by demanding spit-polish perfection from his bedeviled, understaffed, badly equipped men; and his escalating oppression has thus led to the current mutiny/hostage crisis. Solid action in the rescue details, baldly derivative material most everywhere else: a passably atmospheric item for fans of military maneuvers and army-life grit.