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The Disciples

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Old-fashioned romance becomes the savior of democracy in this flaky tale of high-tech espionage and the fall of Eastern bloc communism circa 1989. When sexy National Security Agency operative Rebecca Townsend disappears with her new recruit, the agency discovers her extended family's involvement in the secret information trade. Veteran analyst T. C. Steele must return from mandatory retirement to repair the security breach and make sense of the international storm gathering around Rebecca. With the help of his wife Carolyn, who is a corporate tycoon and expert pilot, and a small band of agency outsiders--ultimately including Rebecca's fiance--Steele sets out to find the AWOL agent and foil the powerful, international syndicate to which she apparently has defected. First novelist Andrew delivers his tale in Steele's own voice, a world-worn, first-person narration complete with frequent, self-conscious asides that hopelessly disrupt its flow, undercutting all suspense. The numbered epigrams sprinkled throughout quickly become tiresome, as do the unconvincing plot and lack of character development. Aside from a few good twists and a clean prose style, there is little here to recommend. (July)

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