Superultramegatechnothriller bestseller Clancy drops the technobits for a story about a beached SEAL who--with nothing but low-tech knives and home-modified artillery--takes on the drug traders of Baltimore and the North Vietnamese Army at the same time. During the first Nixon term, recently widowed Vietnam vet and underwater-demolition expert John Kelly picks up a pretty pedestrian named Pam on his way to the diesel-powered yacht where he's been licking his wounds since the accidental death of his pregnant wife. Pam, a prostitute, is on the lam from her sadistic pimp Henry, an ambitious and rising drug-dealer. Even as Kelly is feeding a grateful Pam, Henry's henchmen are just down the Chesapeake Bay feeding an associate to the crabs. Out fishing the next day, Pam and Kelly have a cute-meet with physicians Sam and Sarah Rosen, who kindly clean up Pam's sexually transmitted diseases and drug addiction after Kelly fixes their corroded screws. Meanwhile, in North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh's fiends have locked up 20 downed and reportedly dead American flyers in a secret prison to be interrogated by a Soviet colonel about American air strategy. The US government knows about the prisoners but is willing to sacrifice them for the good of the Paris peace talks. Back in Baltimore, Kelly takes the rebuilt Pam back to her old haunts so he can punish her wrongdoers, but they themselves are the victims. Pam dies a cruel death, and Kelly takes a shotgun blast in the neck. Weeks later, a brokenhearted Kelly resolves to wipe out the drug-dealing dirt who did in his sweetheart, accepting at the same time a commission to rescue the flyers. He'll have to hurry. Henry has linked up with the mob, and it won't be long before the pilots outlive their usefulness. Among the countless complications: a pair of dope-smoking Ivy League draft evaders, and some commendably persistent detectives from the Baltimore police force. Twice as long as the two rather creaky storylines can bear, but the millions of midlevel, desk-bound, action-loving bureaucrats whose adventurous wishes Clancy so faithfully fulfills are unlikely to complain.