cover image Silver Tower

Silver Tower

Dale Brown. Dutton Books, $18.95 (349pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-060-3

This disappointing second novel by the author of Flight of the Old Dog begins with some intriguing political projections: four years from now, the space-based defense system known as ""Star Wars'' will have become a reality, the shuttle program will be back on track, and the U.S.S.R., poised to invade Iran and install a puppet regime, will encounter unexpected resistance from the United States by air, sea and outer space. Aboard the Armstrong space station, tenacious young scientist Ann Page is installing Skybolt, the laser system she's invented, and clashing with the station's gruff, charismatic commander, Jason Saint-Michael. When war brews 5000 miles below, the two are thrown together as the ``Silver Tower'' becomes both a weapon and a target. The stakes are high enough to generate a few tense high-tech dogfights, but Brown's plodding prose and stilted characters deaden the excitement, and the countless lengthy, jargon-laden descriptions of military hardware turn the story into a dull catalogue of futuristic gadgetry. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Berkley; Military Book Club and Literary Guild selections; author tour. (May)