cover image WARNING OF WAR


James Brady, . . St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-312-28018-5

A Marine veteran of the Korean conflict, Brady (The Marines of Autumn) has stormed publishing high ground to become, arguably, our foremost novelist currently writing on the subject of Marines at war. Here, the distinguished columnist and author brings under close scrutiny the sorry disarray of the U.S. military during the two months (beginning November 27, 1941, and ending Jan. 27, 1942) just before and after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Playing tennis by day with his friend, an American-born Japanese colonel, and by night enjoying posh clubs with his White Russian mistress, Marine Capt. Billy Port, a Back Bay Bostonian, sees his pampered life among the cosmopolitan set in exotic, Japanese-occupied Shanghai come to an abrupt halt on November 27, 1941, when FDR orders the complete evacuation of all Marines stationed in China under an official "warning of war." A decorated veteran of the 1920s Nicaraguan campaign, Port is given the task of taking a rifle squad of combat-seasoned Marines and rounding up a scattering of isolated detachments and leading them over the Great Wall and across the Gobi into icy Siberia. Taking his personal majordomo, a naval lieutenant, a French former Grand Prix race driver, and an exiled White Russian general, he loads four military trucks and his own Bentley touring car aboard a rusty Portuguese ship and sails north to rescue the isolated Marines, unaware that his Japanese tennis partner will become his relentless pursuer. Authentic atmospherics and crackling action are sure to keep fans turning the pages of this newest Brady combat thriller, which succeeds equally as entertainment, history and morality lesson. (Apr. 10)

Forecast: The Marines of August was a New York Times bestseller, and Brady's latest looks likely to follow in its footsteps.