There is a new order to the world. The first female president of the United States sits in the White House. Monster corporations wield the real global power. And all the old rules have changed.
From Richard Herman, whom Clive Cussler calls "one of the best adventure writers around" and the Denver Post places "on a par with Tom Clancy," comes a spellbinding new novel of intrigue, politics, deception, murder, and the bloody manipulation of world events for the sake of pure profit.
Beautiful and brilliant, Lee Justine (L.J.) Ellis is, at thirty-eight, the youngest CEO ever of a major oil corporation. Ruthless, charismatic, greedy, and philanthropic, she is a strange dichotomy of positive and negative, a driven crusader on a god-given mission. And now she owns something worth killing for: secret knowledge of vast, untapped reserves of oil right in America's backyard ... beneath the territorial waters of a sworn enemy ... Cuba. It is a prize she must capture at any cost.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Stuart is the most average of men. A military functionary toiling in bureaucratic tedium, he could never hope to live up to the legendary reputation of his father -- one of the great air force fighter pilots -- so he is resigned to serving his country in his own quiet way. But in his daily war of figures and on-screen data, Stuart notices an unusual pattern of oil tanker movement and he dutifully reports it to his superiors. Suddenly Mike Stuart's ordinary life starts spinning dangerously out of control.
A series of seemingly random "accidents" and narrow escapes -- all explainable and unremarkable, except for the number of them -- puts him on the alert. Butwhen his ex-wife and her lover are killed in Stuart's car, he realizes that his growing paranoia is frighteningly justified. There are powerful forces closing in on one inconspicuous man, trapping him in the wide flung net of a devastating conspiracy that could brutally change the political face of a hemisphere, bring a government down in flames and chaos ... and take the life of America's's president.
Now Mike Stuart is being called upon to defend his nation in ways he never imagined. And his sole chance for success -- and survivals to become something he has never been: a warrior.
Like the Texas oil drillers at the heart of the story, Herman's latest military thriller is big and brawny and blustery--showing bulge around the middle, but still carrying its weight reasonably well. RayTex Oil, a small but feisty company out of Dallas, believes it has found a huge oil field off the Cuban coast. The company, however, knows the only way it can stake a claim and drill is if it can topple Fidel Castro and install a government that will cut a deal. Foiling RayTex's plans is Pentagon-based air force fuel expert Lt. Col. Michael Stuart, who gets suspicious after spotting unusual movements of oil exploration ships. He's nonetheless baffled--the Cuban coast has never been considered a potential oil site--until his boss tries to demote him, he is framed for murder and a hired killer tracks him down. He's got personal problems, too: his girlfriend thinks he's a wimp for not standing up to his ex-wife, and his father, hard-nosed former fighter pilot William "Shanker" Stuart, never misses an opportunity to imply how disappointed he is in his son. While Stuart struggles to understand what's happening, RayTex--led by sexy businesswoman L.J. Ellis--is busy fomenting revolution in Havana and deceiving the U.S. government about its intentions. Herman (Edge of Honor, etc.), a retired air force officer, juggles one too many subplots, yet rallies for an exciting finish on the ground and in the skies above Cuba. Both the behavior of Ellis (a tad too promiscuous for a business titan) and Stuart (a bit lily-livered) strain credibility, but Herman's latest has enough thrills and adventure to satisfy his fans.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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October 29, 2001
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