Under Siege Summary
by Stephen Coonts

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Under Siege

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The United States government proposes to bring the foremost drug trafficker in the world to justice in an American court. But, inasmuch as the drug kingpin is a homicidal maniac with delusions of omnipotence, the ruler of a truly evil empire, his indictment in an American court in the nation’s capital provokes a declaration of war.

The armies of the drug lord seize the initiative with a series of suicidal attacks on government facilities and private individuals. Meanwhile, a highly successful assassin is dispatched to eliminate the highest officials in the land—beginning with the president of the United States.

George Bush survives the assassination attempt, but his injuries require Vice President Quayle to assume temporarily the mantle of office. It is a difficult time to be responsible for the policy of the U.S. government, most particularly insofar as the options available to the Vice President range from disastrous to catastrophic in their impact.

UNDER SIEGE is yet another thriller in the narco-terrorist subgenre. In the aftermath of the Cold War, authors of thrillers must needs find new villains, and the South American drug lords are made to order. Despite such predictable elements, this is one of the better entries in the field. Coonts is able to put a human face on evil, and his scenarios are plausible and thus all the more terrifying. UNDER SIEGE is a contemporary version of IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE.