The Wire

Nik Gowing, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (546p) ISBN 978-0-312-02671-4
In a brilliant fiction debut, British journalist Gowing portrays bravery, terror and tragedy during the time, in 1981, when martial law was imposed in Poland. Furious with what he considers the inadequately brutal repression of Solidarity, KGB chief Andropov orders the assassination of Gen. Jaruzelskia step that would also help him grab the presidency after the death of gravely ill Brezhnev. But the plan necessitates keeping the Kremlin in the dark, and ensuring that Jaruzelski's elimination looks like the work of the CIA. To pull it off, Andropov activates a KGB ``mole'' in Solidarity, and the plot unfolds against the desperate fight of Polish activists to withstand torture at the hands of the secret police, and betrayal of informersor ``wires''in their midst. Many in this novel, ostensibly loyal to Solidarity, are not what they seem. Their deceptions, along with the studied realism of the narrative, make for bristling suspense and a climax of great irony and power. This provocative thriller should be one of the year's stand-outs. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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