The gung-ho Marines familiar to readers of Griffin's seven Corps novels (Behind the Lines, etc.) return for an eighth adventure--and not their best. Young Marine officers and enlisted men with high morale and low morals such as Ed Banning, Ken McCoy and Ernie Zimmerman are perfect for a secret (but remarkably improbable) OSS operation behind enemy lines in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia in 1943. Their mission: to establish a clandestine weather station and rescue a wayward group of Americans who fled China after the Japanese invasion in 1941 and have been lost in Mongolia for nearly two years. While the plot teases with a promise of suspense in an exotic and forbidding locale, the reality is that not a shot is fired, not a cliffhanger is encountered and three-fourths of the narrative is set safely back in the States, where the characters spend most of their time drinking, womanizing, disobeying orders and wringing their hands over how they can rejoin the war. Under the leadership of fatherly Brigadier General Fleming Pickering, a kind of Marine den daddy, they do return, although the result is anticlimactic. Numerous side plots provide color and historical perspective, but overwrought dialogue, flat narrative and soap-operatic storytelling leave this lengthy tale without snap. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999 Release date: 01/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 883 pages - 978-1-56895-724-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 723 pages - 978-0-515-12698-3
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