The Noble Path

Peter May, Author
Peter May, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-08864-4
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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British journalist May tells a brutal story with an unflinching eye. Former army officer Jack Elliott has hacked out a life as a soldier of fortune since he was court-martialed for a WW II massacre. Offered a huge sum of money in 1978 to rescue the family of a Cambodian refugee from the Khmer Rouge, he accepts, although it seems a certain suicide mission. Accompanying him into Cambodia are a former Australian comrade dying of cancer and a bitter American Vietnam veteran who had withdrawn into a Bangkok hovel but now wants to bring his wife and young son out of Cambodia to America. The Vietnamese army attacks Cambodia just as Elliot and his cohorts cross the border, considerably affecting their chances of success. Told against the sordid background of a nation destroyed by war, this initially straightforward adventure story becomes somewhat improbable when Elliot's naive young daughter flies to Bangkok to find her father, whom she had long believed to be dead. She becomes the unwitting hostage of an evil man who has double-crossed Elliot and fears his return. In fact, since she is white, pretty and a virgin, she is potentially ``the most sought-after property in Bangkok.'' May depicts the dehumanizing consequences of political greed and warfare with accuracy and authority, though the hint of redemption at the end seems sentimental. (Feb.)
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