cover image Special Ops

Special Ops

W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam, $25.95 (665pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14646-6

Newly initiated readers of Griffin (The Fighting Agents) will find the latest in the Brotherhood of War series strongly reminiscent of modern American military classics From Here to Eternity and The Winds of War. Longtime Griffin faithful, eager since 1988's The Aviators for the next BOW installment, will deem this '60s action drama well worth the wait. Fresh from disobeying orders on a rescue mission to the Congo in November 1964 (and receiving two medals for his heroic efforts), former airline pilotDnow Green Beret Sgt.DJack Portet is promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Top Secret Special Operations under Col. Sanford T. Felter, adviser to the president. CIA sources report that Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara is going to the Congo to establish a major Communist foothold in Africa, before moving on to South America. LBJ, with counsel from Felter, decides that it would be better politics to humiliate Guevara in the Congo than to elevate him to martyr status by killing him. To that end, Portet, Felton and Maj. George Washington ""Father"" Lunsford persuade Joseph Mobutu, president of the Republic of the Congo, to allow a crack unit of African-American Green Berets, all fluent in Swahili, to carry out the assignment. The Special Ops manage to chase Che out of Africa only to see him try to gain power in Bolivia. His writing enriched by new, fully developed characters, Griffin also reprises BOW favorites Craig Lowell, Robert Bellmon, Geoff Craig and William ""Doubting"" Thomas as he renders an intricately layered, epic novel of the fascinating machinations of international politics and the life and passions of the men who make it happen. Given Griffin's track record with military adventureDhe launched the Lieutenants of the Brotherhood in 1982Dthe audience for this rouser is ready and waiting. (Jan.)