Simon & Schuster, Oct 2003, 25.00, 480pp
In 1953, the don't say his name boss arrives in Havana with a dossier on a charismatic threat to the currently American supported dictator. He orders Roger St. Johns Evans and Walter Short to eliminate Fidel Castro before he causes problems like regime changing and Communist government building. Walter suggests they use Earl Swagger of Arkansas on the assignment.
The Boss sends a loyalist to Siberia to reassign 4715 from the North Pole road building to mentoring Castro in Cuba. Speshan takes a shower for the first in seemingly centuries before, he, the former and perhaps future 4715, travels to Havana to indoctrinate Castro.
Though he only wants to go hunting with his son, when the Feds come recruiting, Earl accepts the mission and journeys to Cuba. However, nothing is quite like it seems and instead of a simple job, Earl is caught in global politics with little hope of expediting himself from this mess.
This is a powerful historical thriller that brings to life the era just before Castro takes over Cuba. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but contains much humor (Bill and Ted?). Earl is a great protagonist who also serves as a role model for a caring nurturing yet all male man. Stephen Hunter escorts readers back five decades in Havana in a numero uno tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner