• The Black Sea

    by Richard Setlowe

    Ticknor and Fields, New York, 1991

    ISBN 0-395-56927-3     Buy This Book

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    A basket, inside of which is the severed head of a Russian naval officer. So begins Setlowe's high-action thriller with a post-glasnost twist. The Russians and the Americans are on the same side—the side of victims. Here the bad guys are a band of Malayan terrorists looking for weapons and eager to drive the infidels out of Southeast Asian, thereby restoring rule by the faithful. To accomplish this goal, they're willing (and eager) to chop off the heads of the American passengers and Russian crewmembers they've taken hostage on the Black Sea, a Russian cruise ship. Setlowe does an excellent job of elevating the genre, lacing his story with historical detail, graphic description, and quirky political insights. The characters, too, never take a backseat to the action, as is so often the case. Not that the action ever lags. Setlowe turns up the juice and races to a surprising conclusion that places his novel a few knots ahead and few fathoms deeper than much of his competition in the adventure-thriller field.

    — Robert Seid


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