cover image The Brutus Lie

The Brutus Lie

John J. Gobbell / Author Scribner Book Company $22.95 (357p) I

Brutus is a top-secret, state-of-the-art minisub. When its designer, ex-SEAL Brad Lofton, witnesses a murder that heralds a betrayed intelligence operation, he commandeers the sub for a desperate voyage to Russia. There he discovers that he and Brutus are pawns in a deeper game, involving a Soviet officer who is Lofton's identical twin brother, and their father, a Russian mole at the heart of America's defense system. National loyalties clash with ties of blood to produce a story line whose fast pace compensates for the unconvincing plot device of twins, separated as infants and raised in different cultures, whose behaviors are nevertheless so similar that one can immediately substitute for the other. Readers willing to overlook first-novelist Gobbell's debt to The Prisoner of Zenda will be rewarded by a knowledgeable presentation of modern minisub technology, an effective depiction of Russia's naval Spetsnaz , and the extended escape-and-evasion narrative as Lofton and his brother flee Russia in Brutus , pursued by everything the Soviet navy can muster. (Apr.)