Honor Among Thieves

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

HONOR AMONG THIEVES begins with the reasonable assumption that the President of Iraq remains embarrassed by the relative ease with which he was defeated in the 1991 Gulf War. Moreover, that Saddam Hussein, again not surprisingly, holds the United States accountable for his considerable discomfort. With this basis in easily confirmed fact, Jeffrey Archer constructs a rather implausible story involving a tenured academician and a neophyte Israeli secret agent.

The bare bones of the plot involve Hussein securing the assistance of a group of American criminals to steal the Declaration of Independence so that he might publicly destroy same on the Fourth of July. In pursuit of this aim, government officials are bribed or misled, private citizens are intimidated or killed, while a complicated plan full of opportunities for error goes off without a hitch.

But, although the miscreants succeed and Saddam Hussein is literally able to nail the Declaration of Independence to his office wall, the United States will yet escape an international scandal. The unlikely agents of that deliverance are a Constitutional law professor from Yale University (Indiana Jones in tween jacket) and a former model turned avenging angel working for Israeli intelligence. Together, with the assistance of the American and Israeli governments, this intrepid duo return the document to its rightful place in the National Archives.

HONOR AMONG THIEVES is not a complicated work, nor is the plot of a type to keep security agencies awake at night contemplating the possibility that fiction might become reality. Nevertheless, the work is good entertainment, and it confirms that Saddam Hussein’s existence will prove the inspiration for a plethora of fictional threats to international stability in years to come.