Forced to resign when blamed for a midair disaster, Navy TOPGUN instructor Luke Henry opens a private aerial combat school with the full support of the government. But the Defense Department requires that Luke train a group of Pakistani pilots to fly MiG-29s the U.S. has supplied. But these strangers have a secret agenda that strikes directly at ...
Forced to resign when blamed for a midair disaster, Navy TOPGUN instructor Luke Henry opens a private aerial combat school with the full support of the government. But the Defense Department requires that Luke train a group of Pakistani pilots to fly MiG-29s the U.S. has supplied. But these strangers have a secret agenda that strikes directly at the heart of their American benefactors. (June)
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-02 Mining the ever-popular mother lode of military techno-thrillers, Huston's fourth novel (after Flashpoint) is a lukewarm effort with more spills than chills and even less plot credibility. Huston is himself a former navy "Topgun" jet fighter pilot, and this novel relies heavily on aviation jargon and modern aerial combat. Navy Lt. Luke Henry, a hotshot Topgun instructor, is forced out of the navy after being blamed for a deadly aircraft accident that was not his fault. Resolved to keep flying, he starts a private, commercial Topgun school in the Nevada desert. Almost immediately, he draws lucrative military contracts to train fighter pilots; a sneaky government official even provides him with Russian MiG-29 jets for training. But hopelessly na?ve Luke is being set up. The terrorist bad guys play him like a cheap fiddle, bribing and blackmailing their way into the school. Aided by the Russian mafia, they hope to incite a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, but first they want to orchestrate the most devastating terrorist attack ever on American soil. Several exciting jet dogfights provide the action as Luke and his squadron pals battle the terrorists at high altitude, with air-to-air missiles zooming all over the sky. The aviation scenes are best, but back on the ground, Huston's characters and plot devices do not hold up. The only character of substance is a disgraced Russian pilot who has infiltrated Luke's school with an agenda of his own. Even the bad guys are corny caricatures of thugs and zealots, and Luke is left with nothing to do but shoot down nearly everybody in sight. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2000-05-15 Huston's latest thriller has many of the same qualities as the aircraft carrier that is the story's main setting: it's big, of utilitarian design and unlikely to sneak up on you. This taxing military/political drama begins its slow evolution when junior Lt. Tony Vialli, a Navy F-14 pilot training in the Mediterranean on the carrier George Washington, is murdered by terrorists while on leave in Israel. His headstrong roommate and fellow pilot, Sean Woods, vows revenge against his buddy's killers, members of a shadowy terrorist group called the Assassins, who have begun targeting Americans and Israelis in a series of violent attacks. Woods secretly breaks off from a training flight to join an Israeli air attack aimed at killing the Assassin's leader, Sheikh al-Jabal. When that fails, Woods makes an equally outrageous move, officially suggesting that the U. S. declare war?not on Iran or Syria, where the Assassins operate, but on the Sheikh himself. Stunningly, the U.S. president, as well as Congress, take Woods up on his proposal, promising to track down and kill the terrorist, no matter where this mission takes American troops. Despite being in hot water with his bosses for the unauthorized air attack, Woods is the one chosen to drop a giant bomb on the sheikh's secret fortress in a remote mountainous corner of Iran. As the story lumbers along, Huston (Balance of Power; Price of Power) nearly crushes the plot with military and legal arcana and too much chest-pounding, American righteousness and time-consuming accounts of F-14 flights. He does craft a well-conceived subplot about Arab-Israeli relations in the American spy community and a hair-raising finale featuring a firefight and rescue in the desert. Getting there, however, requires a long, slow boat ride across some well-charted, flat waters. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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