cover image Fist of God

Fist of God

Frederick Forsyth. Bantam Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09126-7

The Gulf War is the setting of Forsyth's brilliantly plotted ``what if'' thriller in which historical facts are turned into gripping fiction. Hero Mike Martin is a British Special Forces agent sent to Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion to assess the situation and build a resistance movement. When the British discover the existence of Saddam Hussein's double agent, Jericho, who had been feeding information to Israel, Martin is smuggled into Baghdad to contact Jericho and learn about Saddam's battle plans. What Martin finds out is that Saddam has a doomsday weapon he is planning to use against the Coalition Allies when they launch Operation Desert Storm, information that propels the book to an explosive climax. And this is just the main plot line of Forsyth's detailed, epic-length story, which begins with the killing of a gun merchant in Brussels and eventually includes such real-life characters as George Bush and Norman Schwarzkopf. It's the mark of master Forsyth ( The Odessa File ) that characters and background information are introduced so cleanly and precisely that impossibly complex events are never confusing, and the story develops its grip so surely it's almost impossible to put the book down. This one has bestseller plastered all over it. BOMC main selection. (May)