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Dead Hand

A novel by

With occasional references to "the Kursk incident" and to Vladimir Putin's unpopularity with the Russian people, and with a plot centered around the antics of an ultra-nationalist Russian general, Dead Hand positions itself as an up-to-the-minute thriller with significant political resonance--and even throws in a natural disaster for good measure. Ever wary of being caught off-guard by a nuclear strike, Russia has carefully cultivated a retaliatory system capable of launching its own missiles: mordantly dubbed Dead Hand, the system will activate without a central command. When an asteroid hits Siberia with enough force to trigger the system, Moscow finds itself faced with both unspeakable environmental chaos and General Likatchev's bid to subvert the disaster to his own anti-Western purposes.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, and Russia must ask the U.S., NATO, and the French Foreign Legion (to name but a few of the players) to invade its own borders and destroy the missiles before Likatchev can get to them. Confronted by mass destruction and a Russian squadron led by one of the general's former protégés, the motley group of Western soldiers races against the clock toward the bevy of silos--but at what cost?

Harold Coyle is anything but subtle: his characters can't cross a room without the author pausing to reflect on the glory of the soldier's calling. His pedantic asides often bring the plot to a screeching halt, and he has an unfortunate tendency to present his characters in the manner of an announcer at a beauty pageant: heavy on the platitudes and light on meaningful revelation. That said, Coyle has built up a loyal following, and these readers will no doubt be pleased with the obvious au courant sincerity of his latest offering. --Kelly Flynn

Genre: Thriller

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