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Chains of Command


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About the Author

Former US Air Force captain Dale Brown was born in Buffalo, New York. He was still serving in the US Air Force, where he was a navigator-bombardier, when he wrote his first thriller, Flight of the Old Dog. His most recent novels are The Tin Man, Battle Born, Warrior Class and Wings of Fire.


It is the immediate future. Russia makes a low-level thermonuclear attack on Ukraine, trying to bring it back in line with the other former Soviet nations. When Turkey agrees to support the Ukrainian army, NATO becomes involved, and the U.S. Air Force Reserves are deployed. Brilliant but maligned maintenance officer Daren Mace joins forces with the beautiful and talented pilot Rebecca Furness in a last-ditch mission to destroy the bloodthirsty Russian leader before full-scale atomic war can erupt. Brown, usually a master of the technothriller, has tried to combine too many topical issues (women in combat, the defense drawdown, the menace of nuclear weapons) with savage attacks on President and Mrs. Clinton, treating the former as a buffoon and the latter as a shrill, antimilitary bigot. Fans of Brown's earlier books will be disappointed by the predictability of the plot and the lack of character development. Unless you are building a complete technothriller collection, pass on this. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/93.-- Elsa Pendleton, Boeing - China Lake, Ridgecrest, Cal.

In the year 1995, hardliners have taken control of Russia and seek to reabsorb Ukraine, which has applied for NATO membership. When Russia detonates a low-yield atomic device, the U.S. dispatches a wing of F-111 aircraft, some piloted by women. Major Becky Furness has something to prove, as does Colonel Darren Mace, who has been under a cloud since a mysteriously aborted mission during the first hours of Operation Desert Storm. As the world lurches toward nuclear conflict, Furness and Mace find themselves on a last-chance air strike against the Russian high command. Brown's longstanding love affair with the B-52 ( Flight of the Old Dog ) has given way to a new passion for the F-111, which is this sprawling techno-thriller's real protagonist. The cockpit scenes ably synthesize combat action and technical description, but the novel's storyline shifts uneasily from describing the dynamics of a near-future Air Force to defending the use of women in combat to depicting Russia's resurgence. An unimaginatively nasty portrait of a First Couple clearly modeled on the Clintons does nothing to advance the plot; techno-thrillers seldom succeed as romans a clef . ( July )

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