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St. Patrick's Day, New York City. Everyone is celebrating, but everyone is in for the shock of his life. Born into the heat and hatred of the Northern Ireland conflict, IRA man Brian Flynn has masterminded a brilliant terrorist act the seizure of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Among his hostages: the woman Brian Flynn once loved, a former terrorist turned peace activist. Among his enemies: an Irish-American police lieutenant fighting against a traitor inside his own ranks and a shadowy British intelligence officer pursuing his own cynical, bloody plan. The cops face a booby-trapped, perfectly laid out killing zone inside the church. The hostages face death. Flynn faces his own demons, in an electrifying duel of nerves, honor, and betrayal.
I'm such a fan of deMille that I thought I'd try to read all of his novels. At his best, he is stunning: funny, gripping, with depth and sensitivity of characterization. This novel, astonishingly enough, is none of these. I've almost quit it three times but keep going back hoping it would improve. There is no significant central character, and those that exist are virtually interchangeable within two groups. Many of their names are so similar as to be confusing. By all means read DeMille, but please don't waste your time on this one. Perhaps this novel can be written off as juvenilia?
Like all DeMille books this one reads smoothly. The author displays his uncanny knack for clever dialogue without the sarcastic wit of his later novels. Perhaps the most telling sign of the quality of the writing is that this book is not dated so many years after it was written.
I've read at least 10 Demille books and loved them all. This one was long, drawn out, and totally exhausting. I did not enjoy it at all.