If you've read one Larry Bond novel (The Enemy Within, Red Phoenix, etc.), you've probably read them all. Of course, if you've read them all, then you're like me, and you've continued to enjoy his escapist, globe-trotting thrillers and tales of semi-plausible headlong plunges toward the end of the world as we know it. Do the good guys win? I'll give you one good guess. Are the bad guys really, really bad . . . I mean bad on a world-shaking, civilization-destroying level? Sure are. Is the technology pretty darned cool and yet at the same time frighteningly real? Yes again, and that's the heart of Bond's success, especially in his latest, Day of Wrath. Bond, who was an uncredited partner and consultant on Tom Clancy's early books, knows his stuff, and his expertise shows in descriptions of everything from handguns to nuclear missiles.
The heroes of 1997's Enemy Within, Colonel Peter Thorn and FBI Special Agent Helen Gray, return in Day of Wrath to battle yet another Middle Eastern terrorist overlord bent on destroying the decadent country of America. (One quibble: It seems sort of easy and predictable to make the villain an Arab . . . again. Surely there are bad guys elsewhere. In Bond's favor, though: The top henchmen of key villain Prince Ibrahim are ex-East German secret policeman. It's a new world.) The action moves from the forests of Russia to the streets of Berlin to Washington, D.
C.'s Virginia suburbs, with stops for gunplay at many places along the way. The reason for all the chasing is that Thorn and Gray are the only people who know the secret of Ibrahim's "Operation," a secret I won't reveal here, but suffice to say the title of the book is appropriate. The duo is forced to take extreme measures to safeguard themselves and the secret in a typically nail-biting race to the "whew-that-was-close" climax. Along the way, the romance between Thorn and Gray that budded in the previous Bond book blooms brightly. Their between-the-gunshots romantic by-play seems a little forced sometimes, but gives a more human flavor to the out-there proceedings.
However out-there the plot gets, the kernel of truth and dangerous possibility that lies at its heart forces the reader to consider the "what-if factor." I hope that if there's a real Prince Ibrahim out there, we have more than just two people to stop him, but for now, the resourceful Thorn and the sturdy Gray will do nicely.
Reviewed by James Buckley, Jr.