Behind the Lines
W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14086-0
Griffin's seventh novel in The Corps series (after Close Combat) continues the author's breezy look at the Marine Corps during WWII. Here, he uses guerrilla action behind the lines in the Philippines as foreground to tell the behind-the-lines tale of the power struggle among Marine General Fleming Pickering, General Douglas MacArthur and Bill Donovan of the fledgling OSS, all of whom are galvanized into action by a radio message from a self-proclaimed general named Wendell Fertig, who has established himself as a guerrilla leader against the Japanese. As far as the Marines are concerned, once the message is verified, a team of men with supplies will be sent in to evacuate any sick or wounded and evaluate Fertig as a potential leader. Complicating matters, however, are MacArthur's public declaration that guerrilla activity on the Philippines is impossible, and therefore nonexistent, and Bill Donovan's desire to get the operation under OSS control. Focusing on a variety of characters involved in the proposed mission, Griffin tells an absorbing story with his usual attention to dialogue rather than description, relying frequently on his favored device of moving the plot along through copies of memos, radio messages and telegrams. The boy's club aura of Griffin's primarily male world, where everything--even death--seems clear, sunny, bright and uncomplicated, is in full force here; and that should please his fans just fine.
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996