Warner, Jan 2003, 22,95, 391 pp.
US Army Brigadier General William T. Morrison is accused having helped the former Soviet Union when he served in Moscow as a military attaché. In Fort Leavenworth awaiting trial, William surprisingly asks that his former buddy Judge Advocate General lawyer Major Sean Drummond represent him. Beside the fact that this case will probably end his career, Sean hates William for stealing his college girl friend, Mary Steele Morrison (aside – any relation to Harry?). Instead of begging off due to a conflict of interest, he takes the case because Sean remains an idealist.
The prosecution assigns Major Eddie Golden who brutalizes opponents during the trial and afterward provides a memento baseball bat to his losing opponents including two to Sean. Though William appears overwhelmingly guilty, Bulldog Drummond investigates the case in the two Cold War capitals, but finds no counter evidence. Convinced his client is guilty, Drummond changes his mind when someone tries to kill him. With renewed vigor, Sean begins unraveling a deep conspiracy with the goal leave Eddie with a Babe Ruth bat.
Though very exciting, THE KINGMAKER is not quite at the level of Drummond's first two novels (see SECRET SANCTION and MORTAL ALLIES) as he turns more into a super physical specimen than the cerebral giant. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action, but follows the conspiracy thriller prescription with no variation to the specs. Drummond retains his attitude of combining cynical idealism with amusing one-liners that the audience will enjoy. Brian Haig has written a delightful tale that his fans and the conspiratorial buffs will enjoy just not quite attaining the Drummond quality level.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner