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William Deverell.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1983.
391pp, cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 0-7710-2666-8.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Jacqueline Foerter.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

The fans of William Deverell will be pleased with his latest excursion into the land of international terrorism and espionage. Employing the appropriately sparse prose style and suspense-thriller tradition of his first two novels, Needles,* which won the Seal First Novel Award, and High Crimes,** Mecca is a racy, fast-paced, and gripping tale.

Commencing with the lurid description of the extreme methods used by Group Seven International, an anti-terrorist squad, to elicit information from a captured Rotkommando terrorist, the mood is set for a suspenseful journey to Mecca. Jacques Sawchuk, a burnt-out 60s poet, exiled member of the FLQ and unlikely agent of Group Seven has a mission to infiltrate the Rotkommando to prevent completion of a deal to arm Saudi Arabia with Cruise Missiles. Not only is the future of Israel at stake but also the leftist ideals of Sawchuk as he sees corruption in both American and Rotkommando leaders.

Although the characters are often not fully developed, the question of whether or not Jacques Sawchuk will be able to extricate himself from a bizarre and complex conspiracy becomes progressively more engrossing. General Hesselman, the guilt-ridden former commander of German military intelligence and World War II double agent now founder and leader of Group Seven, is one of the more empathetic characterizations. William Deverell's legal experiences as a lawyer in over one thousand criminal cases, account for the seeming realism of places and events, albeit that some facets of the conclusion are unsettling.

In conclusion, many secondary students will enjoy Mecca but teachers and librarians should exercise caution in recommending it since some of the language and explicit scenes may not be appropriate to naive teenagers. This is, no doubt, one reason why it will be widely-read.

*Reviewed vol. V1II/1 Winter 1980 p.48.
**Reviewed vol. X/2 1982 p.83

Jacqueline Foerter, Paris D. H. S., Paris, ON.
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