Fortunately for America, series hero Scot Harvath (The Lions of Lucerne; Path of the Assassin) possesses almost superhuman abilities and an equal amount of fantastic luck in this blistering, testosterone-fueled espionage thriller. Making use of an innovative plot device, Thor resuscitates that old Cold War bugbear, Russia, as a credible threat to our country's very existence. Twenty years before the story's start, Russian agents hide at least 19 suitcase nuclear devices in secret locations throughout the United States. As the book opens, President Jack Rutledge is ordered by the Russians to inform the American people in his State of the Union address that America will withdraw forthwith from world affairs, remove its troops from all foreign countries, surrender its seat in the United Nations and divest itself of all involvement with the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the G-8. If he does not do as he is commanded, sleeper agents will set off the hidden nuclear weapons, and millions of Americans will die. Harvath former SEAL, former Secret Service agent and special agent with the Office of International Investigative Assistance is assigned the job of thwarting this nefarious plan, and he's got seven days to do it. Assisting him are many stalwarts drawn from elite military and other government agencies, all armed with the most techno of weapons, each lovingly described. As the clock ticks down, the battle takes Harvath around the globe, from a brothel in Berlin to the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea and back to the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. It's a complex plot, but Thor (host of the PBS television program Traveling Lite) keeps everyone in line and trotting briskly ahead. Readers of the genre will understand that Harvath's triumph is a foregone conclusion and will marvel at the canny plan and clever devices he employs to succeed. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.