With the Free World's supply of oil drying up, the West must turn to the Middle East for its needs. John Cormack, president of the United States, and Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the CPSU, believe a mutual reduction in arms expenditure will free the resources that they need to buy their oil. But billionaire Texas oil tycoon Cyrus V. Miller and Soviet Marshal Ivan Koslov are planning an invasion of the Middle East to grab the oil rather than concede to the Arabs. Together they plot to oust Cormack and destroy the Nantucket arms treaty.
The kidnapping of a young man attending Oxford University in England is the first step in this plan. Veteran hostage negotiator Quinn is asked to come out of retirment in Spain and bargain for the boy's life. While an ambitious senator campaigns against the Nantucket treaty and vice-president Michael Odell seeks to handle the crisis, Quinn and an attrractive FBI agent named Sam Somerville attempt to reason with the kidnappers, unaware that a ransom is not their objective.
This is, in my opinion, Frederick Forsyth's best novel. Forsyth takes the typical high-concept Hollywood premise of a high-profile kidnapping and then spins the story in unexpected directions. It contains all the usual ingredients of political conspiracy, espionage and special forces action. The story has the widest scope of any of his novels, moving from Washington D.C. to London, from the cities of Europe to the snowy landscape of Canada, and though the story takes place in the early nineties, its as relevant today as it was prophetic then. A guarenteed unputdownable page-turner.
This report prepared by Scott Crawford