(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

As this novel opens, the South African government hopes to formally bring the majority elements of the nation into the political mainstream. An extremely conservative member of the cabinet learns of a projected assassination plot against the government by the African National Congress (ANC). Rather than alert his colleagues, however, he allows the plot to succeed and then seizes leadership.

Once in control, he implements a plan to affirm Afrikaner military supremacy over the whole of southern Africa and reestablish apartheid in its most virulent form. Therefore, he orders an overt incursion into Namibia. This direct military challenge to the status quo, however, results in a counterstrike by Cuban troops stationed in Angola and supported by the Soviet Union.

The success of the Cuban-sponsored invasion of South Africa itself creates the possibility that the strategically valuable mineral reserves of South Africa will fall into the hands of Fidel Castro and his Russian allies. In consequence, the United States elects to impose a military solution to the problem by launching an invasion of its own.

VORTEX is a classic example of the techno-thriller genre. Unlike many in this field, however, Bond and his coauthor are as gifted in characterization as they are in describing the reality of modern warfare. It is to be wondered why his coauthor’s name does not appear on the title page if indeed his contribution was so essential. But then, Bond himself received no formal acknowledgement for his own collaboration on RED STORM RISING.