• The Black Sea

    by Richard Setlowe

    Ticknor and Fields, New York, 1991

    ISBN 0-395-56927-3     Buy This Book

  • The Black Sea Kirkus Reviews masthead

    Malayan terrorists seize and hide a Russian cruise ship and its cargo of rich Americans, among whom is the former secretary of state, in an ingenious thriller by the author of "The Experiment" (1980) and "The Haunting of Suzanna Blackwell" (1984). Arms for hostages is the deal proposed by Tengku Haji Azhar, the handsome, charismatic Malayan who—thanks to the encouragement of his smarter but uglier cousin and co-plotter—believes he is just the man to lead a Muslim political renaissance in southern Asia and Oceania. The cousins have recruited a gang of Malaccan pirates and, with very little trouble, seized The Black Sea, a posh new Russian liner, then hide the ship in an uncharted jungle river just a day after its departure from Singapore. Tengku gets the attention of the Singaporean, American, and Russian governments with the delivery of a recently detached head of a crewmember and a shopping list of weapons the terrorists would like to have delivered in return for not detaching more. With a fresh Russian or American head arriving every day in Singapore, the three governments feel a bit of pressure to do something. Working for the Americans are the very capable captain and crew of the U.S.S. Decatur, a frigate operating in the area, and Mr. Yee, a very cool and rather mysterious aide to the president of Singapore. Time is working against them—as are the hungry local crocodiles and the rising hysteria of the passengers. Fortunately for everybody, one of the ship's tour guides is Maggi Chancellor, a pretty American who speaks the terrorists' language and who has caught the eye of Tengku. Ms. Chancellor has no intention of spending her life in the jungle. Great fun. Fresh gimmicks and scenery skillfully assembled in a very slick package. Never palls.

    — Copyright © 1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


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