Desmond Bagley, Author
Desmond Bagley, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-00719-5
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
This is the last novel left unpublished at the author's death in 1983, and, while it may not be the best of Bagley (The Golden Keel, Night of Error, the old pro's smooth yarn-spinning still works nicely. American narrator Neil Mannix is the corporate troubleshooter for multinational British Electric. Nyala, a former British colony newly rich with oil, hopes to prop up its shaky democracy and economy with a new power station near its oil fields. The Nyalans insist that British Electric must dispatch a 300-ton transformer for display to the populace, and Mannix is sent to supervise the travels of ""the rig'' on a huge flatbed. Civil war breaks out, and Mannix is bullied by a local doctor and an Irish nun into using the rig as a traveling hospital. He must deal with opposing armies, possibly unsafe roads and bridges, some untrustworthy crew members and Nyalans who trek after the machinery, which has taken on symbolic, even mythic meaning. The logistics are occasionally over-detailed, but the story, like the rig-juggernaut, keeps rolling through colorful West Africa and a lively cast of characters. (August 18)
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