cover image Eighth Day of Week

Eighth Day of Week

Alfred Coppel, Jr.. Dutton Books, $22.5 (384pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-411-3

An intriguing premise fuels Coppel's high-powered new thriller (after Wars and Winters): in the near future, Soyuz, a nationalist group dedicated to uniting the splintered Russian states under army rule, has secretly sent a submarine into Hudson Bay with a nuclear device. The device is designed to explode above the U.S. on December 7th, knocking out communications nationwide and offering Soyuz the chance to take over Russia without American interference. When Canadian photographer Anna Neville and her American husband, Jake, happen to fly over Hudson Bay as the bomb is being planted, the submarine fires on them, killing Jake and badly injuring Anna. Anna accuses the U.S. of being behind the attack, prompting the assignment of Col. John Morgan of the NSC to ``talk to her''-and, as it turns out, to protect her from Soyuz-sponsored killers. Meanwhile, the timer on the device ticks away. Subplots involve a large cast including Russian spies and greedy American turncoats, an adult romance between the two leads and a potential nuclear war. Though the climax is predictable, there are unexpected episodes along the way, plus some frightening speculations about the vulnerability of Russia to a right-wing takeover-making this another timely thriller from the veteran author. (Oct.)