cover image Hegemon


Rudolf Steiner, Alexander M. Grace. Vandamere Press, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-918339-38-6

The post-communist political chaos of Eastern Europe forms the setting for this tightly crafted fourth novel from the pseudonymous Grace (in reality, U.S. foreign service officer Bruce Farcau). Belgian Luc Chatelan, 45, a security officer for the EC General Directorate, discovers a secret shipment of toxic chemicals while interrogating an Iranian arms merchant. Quick action temporarily derails a scheme to poison the Czech water supply, but Chatelan, with the help of his computer-savvy secretary, learns that the attempted poisoning was but a small step in a campaign to foster war and disorder in Eastern Europe and to see Germany emerge as the dominant power in a united Europe. Chatelan learns that his boss is involved in the plot, and he must race against time while staying one step ahead of the conspirators. Meanwhile, in a subplot, a Hungarian officer leads a desperate battle against Romanian forces when a border skirmish between the two nations escalates. As stirring as Grace's account of the military conflict is, it's the charming, clever Chatelan who brings the story to life, particularly during the fast-moving climax, when he helps a band of spies disable the computerized heart of the conspiracy. Grace displays deep knowledge of both espionage and European politics, lending credibility and a rapid edge to the proceedings. This sophisticated and exciting thriller will enhance his growing reputation within the spy-vs.-spy crowd. (Aug.)