cover image Fortress


David Drake. Tor Books, $15.95 (311pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93001-1

In the prologue that takes place in ""Another 1965,'' President John F. Kennedy proposes construction of a laser-protected space station, Fortress, that will keep international peace or at least avert nuclear war. The discovery of an alien's corpse in Turkey suggests that something is threatening Fortress, prompting reactivation of ex-national security operative Tom Kelly. Known for his ruthless expertise, Kelly ends up in a frantic race against time aboard the space station with the probability that Fortress itself will be used to spark World War III. During his adventures, Kelly encounters Kurdish rebels, treacherous double agents, some interesting women, leftover Nazisthe real threatand more aliens, one of whom communicates with Kelly through his tape recorder and his dreams. Drake (Cross the Stars offers readers plenty of tough talk, detailed descriptions of gore and a bloody climax on Fortress. But after all the violence, the ending is disappointingly whimsical. (January 12)