The Wildcatter

Desmond Meiring, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (373p) ISBN 978-0-312-01533-6
Deservedly praised for his novels and nonfiction, British author Meiring was once, like this story's ""wildcatter,'' involved in the tricky business of international deals. Through the experiences of Philip Blake, Middle East coordinator for Eagle Oil, the reader relives the region's sad history over a decade: the Arab-Israeli wars, Sadat's assassination, the Iranian hostage crisis, etc. While the evocation is interesting, it is largely beside the point, especially when the author lingers on details about the world-wide, character-heavy cast. The core of the plot is Blake's meeting with Princess Leila Jibal and her brother Sheikh Abdullah, whose country is called ``Kingdom of the Sun.'' Blake has angered his company's chairman with the argument that prices for crude oil have been too low for too long, and he negotiates privately with Abdullah, the Kingdom's oil minister, for their mutually and highly profitable trading. As the years pass, the initial attraction between Leila and Blake grows into deep love, he having broken with his cold, grasping British wife. After an almost leisurely narration, the author takes Blake to the Kingdom of the Sun where he finds soldiers training for the ultimate war with Israel, to regain territory that the Palestinians claim. Because the climax is so unexpected, as well as frightfully possible, it will leave readers shaken for a long time. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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