The Eighth Rank

David D. Ross, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (461p) ISBN 978-0-312-05426-7
This sequel to The Argus Gambit picks up where that volume left off: the world suffers from a crushing famine and the wunderkind scientific trio of Jason Scott, Jacob Kane and Sherlock Michlanski strives to unlock the potential in the Stubeck Equations, purported to offer a form of artificial photosynthesis that will feed the planet. The scientists and several key officials know, however, that the equations really provide a means of faster-than-light travel, which may cure the earth's troubles by allowing millions to emigrate to a habitable world orbiting Tau Ceti. A greedy industrialist, a war in Africa and poor relations with the United Soviet State stand in the way of this salvation. The first half of the book is marred by the anachronistic Cold War atmosphere of his future world and Ross's tendency to lecture. But once the action moves to the moon and the race to perfect the stardrive before saboteurs and the Soviet fleet can prevent it, the plot generates genuine excitement. Flat characters and thriller cliches notwithstanding, the book's second half proves that Ross can keep his readers engrossed. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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