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The Red Horseman
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Coonts's latest Jake Grafton ( Under Siege ) espionage thriller takes on the most critical issues in global politics and turns them into first-rate adventure fiction. Now a rear admiral and deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Grafton learns from a Mossad hitwoman that Jewish media kingpin Nigel Keren was the victim of a complicated poisoning engineered by the CIA. Grafton and ``Toad'' Tarkington, his trusted sidekick, are threatened with similar poisoning and, just as they are dispatched to Moscow to oversee the dismantling of the Russian nuclear arsenal, they discover bugs in the DIA offices. Thus begins a dizzyingly complex adventure of apocalyptic importance, staged on three continents, filled with convincingly fictionalized portraiture (there are characters based on Robert Maxwell and Colin Powell; Saddam Hussein himself plays a pivotal role). The issues Coonts confronts--the frighteningly unprotected and undermaintained nuclear devices in the former Soviet Union; factionalism in the U.S. intelligence community; unrest in the Middle East--make this one of the most compelling post- glasnost thrillers to date. BOMC selection; major ad/promo; author tour. (June)

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