Norton, July 2003, 24.95, 397 pp.
In September 1987, Islamic Fundamentalists hijack Air France Flight 64 demanding the release of ten comrades imprisoned by various countries in return for the lives of the passengers. The terrorists allow the children to disembark in Frankfurt before flying to Iraq where the plane with the passengers inside is blown up. Every year on the anniversary of the hijacking, those now grown up freed children remember and mourn.
Lowell Hawthorne lost his mother on that ill-fated flight, but ignores the entreaties of one of the survivors to talk. Samantha, who was six when she lost both parents on Flight 64, believes that the government covered up what really happened. She keeps in touch with other survivors but soon realizes that someone is eliminating them in what looks like a series of accidents. When Lowell's father dies, he obtains journals and videotapes that enable he and Samantha to learn the horrific truth about the United States role during Flight 64. They are determined to see that the truth becomes public no matter the danger they may face.
Ironically while the heroes struggle to learn the truth, through the use of flashbacks, readers see what happened during the hijacking of Air France Flight 64 and in doing so learn the personal meaning of the term collateral damage. DUE PREPARATIONS FOR THE PLAGUE shows the effects of a severe trauma on those left behind mourning their unexpected loss. By turns a character study and espionage thriller in which Janette Turner Hospital takes her audience on a roller coaster ride that chills the audience with spasms of uncontrolled emotions.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner