*Bell, Ted. Hawke. Atria Books, June 2003. c384p. ISBN 0-7434-6669-1. $25. Fiction.

This outstanding debut by the former chair of the Young & Rubicam advertising agency is one of those rare novels that more than lives up to the usual PR puffery and author blurbs. Alexander Hawke, a descendent of pirates, is a British billionaire, a former Royal Navy commander, and a man frequently called on by the U.S. and British governments to carry out covert assignments. Although he has repressed the memory, when he was seven he witnessed the murder of his parents aboard their yacht in the Caribbean. Now he’s back in the region in search of two things—a boomerang-shaped stealth sub carrying 40 long-range ballistic missiles and a treasure buried by his legendary ancestor, Blackhawke. Before he’s through, however, Hawke will confront the three men who killed his parents, help lead a raid to rescue the woman he loves, and thwart a preemptive strike against the United States. This rip-roaring tale is made entirely believable through convincing detail, with a grand hero in Hawke. Various flawlessly developed story lines contribute to the high-octane pace, and the fully developed characters are delineated through the nuances of voice. In short, this is a commercial blockbuster packed with pleasure. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

LJ, 128, no. 10 (June 1, 2003), 163.

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