Vortex

Larry Bond, Author Warner Books Inc $21.95 (670p) ISBN 978-0-446-51566-5
This near-future techno-thriller with a South African setting sustains interst from first page to last and confirms Bond ( Red Phoenix ) as a highly capable storyteller. Afrikaner radicals stage a coup, reinvigorate apartheid and invade Namibia. Cuba reinforces its troops based in Angola and Mozambique, and mounts a counterattack on the revolutionary government. On the brink of defeat, the hardliners cross the nuclear threshold. Britain and the U.S. intervene, hoping that U.S. Rangers can destroy South Africa's atomic capacity before it is tapped again. Led by American journalist Ian Sherfield and South African military officer Henrik Kruger, Bond's characters are adequate to the story line's demands--his Afrikaners suitably fascist, his journalists suitably heroic. The scenario is a logical extrapolation from South Africa's current situation, with the arguable exception of the peripheral roles assigned the African National Congress and other black organizations. Their absence from the plot's main arena, however, leaves Bond free to develop the military aspect of his narrative, especially his depictions of battalion-level conventional warfare. The lengthy novel's last third, focusing on the U.S. deployment of force, also gives an excellent sense of the problems--and limits--of power projection in an underdeveloped theater, a type of setting we're likely to be seeing in future military thrillers. 250,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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