cover image Shadows of Steel

Shadows of Steel

Dale Brown. Putnam, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14139-3

One of the special pleasures of constructing a techno-thriller seems to be the opportunity to predict one's own version of world affairs. In an unusually thoughtful entry set in early 1997, shortly after the events of his novel Day of the Cheetah (1989), Brown (Storming Heaven) takes time to explore such issues as the thin line separating special operations from terrorism and the role of the warrior in a supposedly peaceful world. The Iranians are at it again, attacking a U.S. spy ship. When American personnel are taken captive, President Kevin Martindale (a Brown regular) realizes he must act. As is usually the case with this genre (and perhaps real-life politics), the president and his military advisors decide to rely upon high-tech aircraft and weaponry to destroy the enemy's war-making capabilities, some of which, in this case, have come by way of China. A B-52 stealth bomber flown by returning Brown hero Patrick McClanahan is the center of the action that whirls from prison cells through a coup d'etat, climaxing in air encounters of the radar kind. Brown is a master of this school of fiction, bringing life to his characters with a few deft strokes. More than just a military thriller, this novel offers disturbing descriptions of possible political developments that are worthy of discussion. (June) FYI: In an author's note, Brown says he will welcome e-mail with comments on the novel, at