(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Mitchell Gant, the superpilot and consummate survivor featured in Craig Thomas’ FIREFOX and FIREFOX DOWN, is now working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is once again faced with a seemingly impossible task. The Soviet Union has developed an operational laser cannon which they intend to place in orbit, thus threatening the surveillance satellites of the Western alliance with imminent destruction. To complete the discomfiture of the West, the United States and the Soviet Union are within days of signing a comprehensive disarmament treaty, the efficacy of which depends on both sides being able to detect violations by means of surveillance satellites--platforms which are now at risk. The President of the United States is aware of the existence of the laser weapon, but he lacks concrete proof, and, in the absence of such corroboration, he does not dare reject the new treaty lest public opinion destroy him politically.

Fortunately, the CIA has an agent in the Soviet Union who possesses such proof, but he is on the run and it is uncertain whether he can be rescued before the treaty is signed. To complicate matters further, elements within the Soviet military establishment oppose the new treaty and intend to use the new device aggressively--forcing the civilian leadership of the Soviet Union to accept control by the military. Only two individuals stand in the way of success for the generals and the possibility of World War III: Mitchell Gant and, ironically enough, his disgraced, bitter antagonist from earlier adventures, Dmitri Priabin of the KGB.

This is the most ambitious and complex work in the Mitchell Gant series. Thomas combines a wealth of technical detail and a never-ending series of disasters to produce a suspenseful tale that bespeaks a close familiarity with THE PERILS OF PAULINE. The novel moves from locale to locale and character to character with such ease as to sustain the development of the story while maintaining the atmosphere of suspense at a fever pitch.