A Thing of State

Allen Drury, Author Scribner Book Company $23.5 (383p) ISBN 978-0-684-80702-7
In his 13th novel about the inner machinations of Washington, Drury, whose Advise and Consent won a Pulitzer, conjurs up a believable worst-case scenario about the consequences of our failure to bring the Gulf War to a satisfactory end. By 1999, Sidi bin Sidi bin Sidi, the power-crazed Middle Eastern dictator of fictional Greater Lolome, has managed to acquire several atomic bombs and is blackmailing the free world, demanding dominion over oil-rich neighbor Lesser Lolome. Confronted with possible global (and personal) disaster, the self-centered U.S. president shrewdly and sinisterly sees the threat as an opportunity to reestablish his popularity and ensure reelection. So by default, Secretary of State Ray Shepard, a patriotic career diplomat, is faced with the dilemma of saving the country-and the world. With a cast of nicely fleshed-out stereotypes from the executive and legislative branches and the media, and with a roll call of world powers along embassy row and at the U.N., Drury provides an intriguing and gossipy insider's reminder of the ever-present atomic predicament. Despite an overly expository beginning and prose that occasionally resembles a jungle thicket, the narrative quickly gathers pace and sweeps readers along toward a chilling conclusion. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
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