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Hyde, Christopher.

Toronto, Collins, c1984. 279pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-00-222844-0. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Christopher Hyde is certain that North American officialdom does not know how to deal with incidents of terrorism and that only individual action by those who have nothing to lose can deal with such a situation.

Harry Maxwell and his accomplices are foiled in an attempt to steal a U.S. Treasury Department shipment from an Amtrak train when a band of ruthless international terrorists beat them to the draw. The robbers, as well as all the other passengers, are held hostage as the train is taken north to Montreal.

Despite advance warning of the train's approach, Canadian officials fumble until the Via Rail Canadian is also hijacked. The two trains are joined, and an epic journey across Canada begins. Maxwell and a former FBI agent both come to the conclusion that an escape attempt will be attempted in the B.C. mountains. The ex-agent manages to get aboard, and he and Harry, with the help of robbers and some of the passengers, manage to defeat the terrorists and prevent destruction of the train. A "Playboy Interview" with Harry forms the last chapter and provides a clever turn to the conclusion.

Aside from the message that terrorism would be relatively easy in an almost totally unprepared North America, the book tells a gripping story. The terrorists are very one dimensional but very frightening. Harry and Linburg, the former FBI man, as well as most of their accomplices, have nothing to lose and consequently are willing to risk a great deal.

Despite the statement about our lack of preparation for terrorism, the book will be read primarily as an adventure story/thriller. On this level it succeeds very well. The Canadian setting also helps to make this story very real as do the details about the railway system. This is a successful thriller with some immediate relevance.

Jerry McDonnell, F.E. Madill S.S., Wingham, Ont.
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