Hostage One

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The question is, how to kidnap the President of the United States and successfully transport him to Libya? The price is right, namely $50 million, but is the candle worth the game?

The players in this contemporary drama are several. On the one hand, there is Robert “Gee” Hardy. Hardy, combat pilot, Vietnam veteran, former POW, soldier of fortune and drug smuggler, has little love for the government he holds responsible for the death of his only son. The idea of humiliating the American president and making a profit in the process appeals to him. Hardy devises a plan which has the virtue of being ingenious and highly plausible--given a bit of luck.

In opposition to Hardy is the unlikely team of David Melnik and Charles Werther. Melnik, an Israeli intelligence agent, has little love for Americans or their government, but he likes Libyan terrorists even less. Werther, on the other hand, loves his country and is dedicated to the defense of its institutions. Moreover, as a senior agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Werther is charged with preventing any acts of terrorism within the United States. Both Melnik and Werther are exceptional individuals, but this time they are up against their intellectual equal, and they will need all their expertise, the vast resources of the United States government, and more than their share of luck if they are to foil Hardy’s plan, for Hardy piles layer upon layer in a complex scheme which consistently leaves Melnik and Werther one step behind.

HOSTAGE ONE, the product of a fruitful collaboration between a scientist and a pilot, features enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most demanding devotee of the genre. The characters are well developed, the plan devised for the kidnapping of the president appears so plausible that it is to be hoped that the authors left something out, lest reality should imitate art. It is interesting to note that in the past two years two novels in this vein have appeared in which George Bush is a minor but nevertheless significant character. One can only wonder why this is the case.