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Under Siege Paperback – 9 May 1991
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America is facing its worst nightmare ¿ and Jake Grafton his most deadly challenge yet . . . --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
IT’S A KILLER’S GAME, AND THE DRUG BARONS KNOW ITS CRUELLEST MOVES
In a stunning explosion of terror, America’s worst nightmares come true when Colombian suicide squads hit the streets of Washington. They have gone to war, and will destroy everything and everybody in their path.
With its power and communications systems blown apart, the city is plunged into turmoil. In the Pentagon, Captain Jake Grafton and the Joint Chiefs of Staff face the most deadly challenge ever to threaten America.
But while confusion and chaos rule the streets, a ruthless hunter, serving an unknown master, has his own catastrophic mission. He will not rest until he has wiped out the whole cabinet, starting with the President himself …
“Nobody does it better than Stephen Coonts. He’s unsurpassed at creating a story that bristles with intrigue, excitement and surprise”
“A terrific novel … a hell of a story . Coonts gives the idea some special twists and tells it with pulse racing excitement”
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Top customer reviews
Unlike some of the later Jake Grafton books, Under Siege doesn't feature much in the way of high-tech weaponry. Instead, it features a large cast of characters from all walks of life and describes them in ways that make them seem real and allow us to empathize with them.
This book is a thriller, of course, and the story is certainly suspenseful and exciting. A Columbian drug lord has been extradited from Columbia to the USA and awaits trial in Washington DC. In the hopes of forcing the Americans to release him, he institutes a war of terror against Washington DC on several levels. Soon there are assassination attempts on the President and several other key government figures, innocent people are being gunned down left, right and center, bombs are exploding in public places and the city is blacked out when the electrical system is destroyed.
How will the politicians, the police, the military and the ordinary residents of Washington react to this? Stephen Coonts has his suggestions, some of which are rather surprising, and this keeps you reading as the level of terror increases and the story unfolds.
Stephen Coonts is good at describing people and their relationships. Here's a passage I found especially appealing:
"You love a woman for many reasons. A goddess she seems when you are young. But finally you see she is of common clay, the same as you, with faults and fears and vain, foolish dreams and petty vices. So you cherish her, love her even more. As she ages you cling closer and closer, holding tighter and tighter. She becomes the female half of you. The toughening of her skin, the engraved lines on her face, the thickening waistline and the sagging breasts, none of it matters a damn. You love her for what she is not as much as for what she is." (Page 87 in the paperback edition I read.)
Not what one expects in a thriller, and that makes this quote even more appealing.
I do have some criticisms though, and that's why I'm giving Under Siege four stars instead of five.
Most importantly, I dislike thrillers that create a fictitious modern history populated with real people. An assassination attempt on the President of the USA is exciting, but placing George Bush Sr. in the role of the target makes the whole thing a bit too weird.
Another problem I had with Under Siege is that the description of the mutilation and killing of a drug dealer gets quite a bit too graphic for my taste.
Finally, there's a scene where an assassin shoots a man 500 yards away, firing through a glass window right in front of his gun. This is simply not possible as far as I know because the glass window will deflect the trajectory of the bullet by a tiny amount, and after 500 yards this tiny deflection will have become a very large displacement from the desired trajectory.
Still, I did like Under Siege a lot, and I think it's a refreshing change from similar high-profile thrillers that are typically populated by cardboard clichés instead of real people.
The story was enjoyable and the main characters were well developed, some of the secondary characters did feel a bit flat, but it never distracted from the book.
Having not read the rest I was not able to follow some of the small plot points, but again it was secondary info and points so it never distracted from the novel.
By far its biggest let down are the 2 chapters on Cuba and Fidel Castro, and how that relates to the book Cuba, (2 books later).
As none Techno thrillers go, it was ok, but I have read better
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