cover image Blood and Honor

Blood and Honor

W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam, $24.95 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14190-4

Set in the spy-infested capital of Argentina in 1943, Griffin's newest is a sequel to Honor Bound (1994) and adheres to the author's usual recipe of good guys, bad women and broad but sometimes transparent suspense and melodrama. Clete Frade is a Marine Corps aviator, a hero of Guadalcanal. Wealthy and well connected, he is also a spook for the OSS and perfect for an undercover job in Buenos Aires because he's an Argentine citizen. Assisted by two useless Army buddies, a navy chief who considers himself a gaucho and a loyal Argentine bodyguard, Frade is sent south to sniff out both a suspected plot to overthrow the Argentine government and a report of a Nazi ship using Argentine waters to resupply German submarines. He stumbles into much more, however, with the assassination of his Argentine father, who is the leader of the coup plot, and with his discovery of a Nazi scheme to ransom Jews out of Dachau and to use the money to finance a sanctuary for fugitive Nazis should Germany lose the war. Frade spars with diplomats, spies, his OSS boss, the FBI, the Argentine military and an SS colonel, all the while trying to aid one conspiracy and destroy the others. There's no deep moral digging here as there is in, say, le Carre. But Griffin is a savvy old hand and here, working with an exotic setting and a complex plot, delivers the sort of sturdy entertainment his fans expect. (Jan.)