Second outing for grumpy fiftysomething diplomat Benton Hawkes (Man O—War, 1996), who, to his disgust, is now prime minister of Mars, a planet he hates . . . or thought he did. The powerful Earth League is still trying to subvert the peace talks and ensure the continuing enslavement of the Martians, so Ben remains the target of assassins, dirty tricks, and disinformation. Mars’s loyalist organization, the Resolute, has been infiltrated; a League satellite is frying the planet’s surface; worst of all, Ben finds he no longer hates Mars--because somebody has subverted his thought processes! An artwork supposedly honoring Mars was in fact loaded with subliminal messages, each one specifically designed to influence Ben. The usual complications ensue. An odd combination of realistic action and diplomacy, together with standard idiotic Trekkisms and a James T. Kirk—alike hero. Still, it’s a blend the fans seem to relish.