It started with a sharp and sudden bang, a wrenching explosion of over-stressed metal abruptly and catastrophically ripping itself apart . . . a sickening sound that haunts every pilot's most fevered nightmares. Flight 181 was just lifting off from Miami International Airport, fully-loaded and en route for Chicago, when a critical engine failure sent the crippled airliner plunging nose first into one of Miami's newest and most popular high rise resort hotels. Within seconds, aircraft and hotel were transformed into a single, forty-five story pillar of flame, before the blazing hulk slowly shuddered and toppled to its side, taking the lives of more than two hundred passengers and crew, along with another thousand souls unfortunate enough to be caught on the wrong piece of ground. The worst disaster in the history of aviation has just occurred.
Now, even before the last flames are doused and the first charred bodies pulled clear, three men begin a desperate race to uncover the cause: Alan Fisk, designer of the compressor blades that powered the doomed airliner's engines, an engineer with an artist's soul, desperately in love with the grace and innate humanity of technology, but haunted by a previous failure that cost another man his life; corporate warrior Cass Cutler, Fisk's boss and CEO of aerospace giant Hi Tech who is determined to keep his company afloat despite the deluge of salivating lawyers and corporate raiders that will surely follow any finding of his company's negligence; and Dusty McGinty, head of the National Transportation Safety Board's "Go Team" assigned to investigate the crash, a man of vast experience and uncompromising character, who's about to face the greatest challenge of his career.
As reporters, politicians, and a shocked and terrified public clamor for something or someone to blame, the action races from the fetid and sweltering Florida swamps to deep inside the exclusive--but no less heated--world of the corporate boardroom, where corporate responsibility too often falls on the alter of expediency and carefully nurtured careers are casually sacrificed in the name of shareholder value. And even as hundreds search for the one piece of wreckage that will reveal the cause of the crash, others are working just as desperately to ensure that the swamp keeps their secrets hidden forever.
Brilliantly written and meticulously researched, At Fault brings to life a disaster that is not only possible, but in fact, likely to occur. In researching this novel, author Angus MacDonald, himself an aeronautical and mechanical engineer, was granted extensive access to the crash investigation tactics and techniques used by the NTSB. Through his wonderful storytelling and deep insider's knowledge, Angus MacDonald carries you straight into the eye of the firestorm with an intense and powerful novel that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
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September 06, 2000
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