Publisher's Weekly
For all the literally explosive nature of its theme the possibility of nuclear war its crisp prose and its relative brevity, this thriller by the author of Summer Fires and Divine Assassin is strangely heavy going. Faced with what seems incontrovertible evidence that the Russians have launched a nuclear attack against America, and with only minutes to decide what to do about it, President Madden surrenders rather than risk bringing about the end of the world. When the ''missiles'' turn out to be meteors, he resigns and is put on trial for treason. The immediate result of his decision to ''make salt'' rather than war (salt having been Gandhi's peace symbol) is that the Soviets step up their aggression in the Middle East and there's an American-Soviet military confrontation in drought-stricken Ethiopia; yet the long-range result may be that world leaders will finally come to see nuclear weapons in human rather than political terms. The secondary characters, such as members of the president's family and the principals at his trial, are firmly drawn, and there are moments of excitement as attempts are made on the lives of Madden and others, but by and large Reiss shows himself better at provoking thought than at creating suspense.

Library Journal
When American electronic defense systems suddenly malfunction and trigger warnings of a major Russian missile attack, President William Madden, fearing nuclear devastation, calls Moscow and surrenders. Madden's blunder brings the two countries to the brink of nuclear conflict. To enjoy Saltmaker , the reader must first accept that an American President would surrender without a fight. Although the material could have been exciting, such scenarios never develop. Moreover, no strong character or plot emerges. Instead, Reiss uses Saltmaker to describe the horrors of nuclear war. Only for the largest fiction collections. Brian Alley, Sangamon State Univ. Lib., Springfield, Ill.

Genre: General Fiction

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Hardback Editions

April 1988 : USA Hardback
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Title: Saltmaker
Author(s): Robert Reiss
ISBN: 0-670-80247-6 / 978-0-670-80247-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking Adult
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