SOAR: A Black Ops Novel

John Weisman, Author
John Weisman, Author . Morrow $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-052409-8
Reviewed on: 06/16/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-06-052410-4
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-203977-4
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The title acronym is short for Special Operations Air Regiment, and is one of dozens of technical abbreviations whose easy use lends Weisman's gritty adventure some of its believability (footnotes aid the civilian reader). The story begins in the Xinjiang region of China, where Sam Phillips leads a small group of CIA operatives posing as a British documentary film crew. Their true mission is to investigate reports of Chinese nuclear weapons caches, and their capture by a small band of IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) guerrillas sets off alarm bells at the White House. The president summons Delta Force leader Mike Ritzik for advice on a rescue mission. The maverick Ritzik suggests a small covert team, in marked contrast to the show of force advocated by the secretary of defense. The proposed rescue is complicated by the captors toting a nuclear weapon, ready to detonate at any moment, in one of their trucks. For this and other reasons, the president assigns Ritzik a special partner, Tracy Wei-Liu, deputy assistant secretary of energy and an expert on the detonation of said devices. Using short, punchy sentences and quick cuts, the story moves back and forth between the condition of the captives, the situation in Washington and the exploits of Ritzik and company. Weisman (coauthor of nine books in the Rogue Warrior series) imbues every stage of the operation with appropriate complexity and suspense. His clear, precise prose should make the story riveting for both fans and newcomers. (Aug. 5)

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