Mammoth, Clancy-sized novel, ninth in the Brotherhood of War series by immensely canny superseller Griffin (Secret Honor, 2000, etc).
Previously, in this and other multivolume sagas, Griffin has covered encyclopedic aspects of US military history, as well as the birth of OSS and US spycraft. Now he takes on the political passions of the 1960s, chronicling US Special Ops’ successful effort to undermine Che Guevara’s hopes of spreading revolution throughout Africa and South America. For this massive operation, Griffin brings back all the Brotherhood regulars: Craig Lowell, Geoff Craig, Master Sergeant doubting Thomas, Robert Bellmon, George Washington “Father” Lunsford, Sandy Felter, et al. First, the President orders Lowell’s Operation Dragon Rouge to rescue 1,600 white people, including the staff of the US consulate and 60 Americans, held captive in Stanleyville, Republic of Congo, by Joseph Olenga’s rebel Simbas, who threaten to kill two or more hostages per day if Olenga doesn’t get his way. As Lowell leads the strike staff of Green Berets, Guevara addresses the United Nations General Assembly to great applause, then goes back to plotting takeovers in Africa and Central and South America. Often telling his story through top-secret letters among the White House, the CIA, and other groups, Griffin’s smarts about how undercover ops are carried out blister the pages with irony and a towering wisdom as he holds each richly satisfied fan in the palm of his hand. Eventually, Guevara is run to ground in Bolivia. The CIA wants to ship him back to Argentina, but Bolivia’s president won’t give up the prisoner—and there the story ends, as foredoomed, with the famous image of Guevara’s wounded corpse stretched out on a table.
Gripping indeed, far more readable than Clancy, and as a bonus we get the heroes’ love lives limned in hugely amusing detail. Griffin fans will dance with delight.