Julian Rathbone, Author
Julian Rathbone, Author Viking Books $16.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-670-81588-3
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
Except for a drawn-out chase sequence and an almost flippant (but satisfying) ending, this is an exciting, cynical thriller with touching and funny moments. A multinational food corporation uncovers a strain of maize in Costa Rica that will revolutionize agronomy. Hardy and fast-growing, the new corn will feed millions cheaply, significantly altering the economy and politics of the Third World. It also will severely damage the profitability of Associated Foods International, so AFI sets out to destroy the new strain and all data concerning it. Also to be eliminated are a Costa Rican coffee commune, two UN bureaucrats, an English botanist and, ultimately, Esther Somers. The latter tells most of the story; she is black, beautiful, educated, second wife to UN agroeconomist Kit Carter and mother to their infant daughter Zena. After a series of murders and subornations, AFI, on the brink of victory, must face the splendid Esther. The plot is fast and intricate, the characters colorful and the San Jose and forest settings vivid. Rathbone (A Spy of the Old School, twice runner-up for the Booker Prize, will remind readers of vintage Graham Greene. (July 6)
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