cover image The New Breed

The New Breed

W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam Adult, $16.95 (8pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13305-3

Griffin already has a high profile in Berkley paperback; his six-volume Brotherhood of War saga, a Green Beret epic spanning WW II to Richard Nixon's presidency, has more than three million copies in print. With The New Breed, the series segues into hardcover, but this is not so much a sequel as a lengthy missing chapter from volume six. In late 1963, Col. Sandy Felter, formerly JFK's private Ollie North, returns from secret missions to Vietnam and the Congo and persuades new president LBJ that the Congo is as volatile as Southeast Asia. Felter's longtime friend, Manhattan banking scion Lt. Col. Craig Lowell, helps secure a crew that can combat any rebellion. Among the cast of characters: Jack Portet, an Army private who grew up flying planes in the Congo; Marjorie Bellmon, an officer's daughter for whom Jack goes ""Top Gun''; Karl-Heinz Wagner, an East German who escaped through the Berlin Wall with his sister, Ursula; and Geoff Craig, Lowell's young Army cousin and Ursula's husband. The novel moves quickly, if somewhat disjointedly; Griffin's short-chapter, staccato style hampers continuity. He is also so entrenched in military jargon and lifestyle that the civilian reader may sometimes be confused. Those who have had some exposure to the service, however, will experience jolts of recognition in the hard-hitting narrative. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; Military Book Club selection. (September 7)