State Scarlet

David Aaron, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (351p) ISBN 978-0-399-13243-8
Involved in government and intelligence for over a decade, and a participant in the SALT I and SALT II negotiations, Aaron knows what he is writing about. This taut and compelling first novel is terrifying in its credibility. The number of cities in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have long been eclipsed by the number of nuclear weapons both sides possess. Of the thousands of atomic bombs in the world, one finally finds its way into the hands of a deluded terrorist, a mistreated former CIA operative with connections to the Soviets. The bomb is an American one, and the threat is that a major European city will be destroyed if the U.S. does not immediately pull out of Europe. We follow the hunt for the terrorist by an American-Russian team, and the escalation of the situation until the world teeters on the brink of war. Meanwhile, the two nations' leaders desperately look for a way to stop their cabinet hawks from initiating a first strike. It is not just the overwhelming number of weapons, but political expediency and incompetent management that will propel us to Armageddon, suggests Aarons. This harrowing story tells how it is and chillingly predicts how it possiblyor probablywill be. The world would do well to take heed. Literary Guild alternate. (April 6)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 00/00/0000
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