cover image War Breaker

War Breaker

James DeFelice, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (309p) ISBN 978-0-312-09404-1

In DeFelice's tension-filled second novel (after Coyote Bird ) set in September 1997, the world stands on the brink of nuclear disaster. War has broken out between India and Pakistan. The CIA has recalled Michael O'Connel, expelled from the Company two years earlier for helping Pakistan design nearly undetectable nuclear bombers. Now he is rehired to destroy these refitted B-50s, known as the Golden Bears. In the process, O'Connell encounters international romance, adventure and political intrigue. Morena Kelso, a former lover now deputy head of South Asia for the CIA, is his second in command; his superior is Carl ``The Snowman'' Stockman, deputy director of operations. O'Connell has his own secret agenda, which includes getting one of the B-50s out of Pakistan and into Iran, where he plans to sell it to an unscrupulous arms dealer from his past. He crosses continents, flees a sniper attack in Paris and rescues the kidnapped U.S. Secretary of State in a high-powered assault. Aviation aficionados will be rewarded by detailed descriptions of airplane minutiae, a spiffy dogfight and a harrowing midair refueling procedure on a plane under Indian attack. The novel's climax pits O'Connel against his Pakistani counterpart, Major Syyid ``Rocket'' Khan, in a ``close encounter of the high g kind'' that will have readers of this suspenseful techno-thriller turning pages at a rapid pace. (July)