A Very Private Plot (Blackford Oakes Series)

A Very Private Plot (Blackford Oakes Series)

by William F. Buckley Jr.
     
 

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The year is 1995, and an ambitious U.S. senator wants to weaken the power of the CIA, perhaps to the point of its elimination. To accomplish his goal, he tries to enlist Blackford Oakes-now retired-into his cause by forcing him to testify before a senate committee about CIA covert activities in 1985. The senator wants to know what President Ronald Reagan did when…  See more details below

Overview

The year is 1995, and an ambitious U.S. senator wants to weaken the power of the CIA, perhaps to the point of its elimination. To accomplish his goal, he tries to enlist Blackford Oakes-now retired-into his cause by forcing him to testify before a senate committee about CIA covert activities in 1985. The senator wants to know what President Ronald Reagan did when informed of a plot by Soviet veterans of the Afghan war to assassinate Mikhail Gorbachev, who had just risen to power. What will Oakes do? Will the senator be able to force him to testfy? Or will Oakes be able to draw upon the wit and savoir faire that saved the day on so many previous occasions?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smooth and skillful, but only mildly suspenseful, the 10th Blackford Oakes adventure brings the Cold War hero into the age of glasnost and beyond. The year is 1995. Senator Hugh Blanton, who is framing a bill that would effectively ban all covert intelligence activity, subpoenas the retired Oakes to give evidence about Cyclops, a Reagan-era CIA operation that supposedly nearly drove Gorbachev to start a nuclear war. Interspersed with the narrative of Oakes's adamant refusal to testify is the true story behind Cyclops, which involves Oakes's discovery in the mid-80s that a group of young Russian patriots plan to assassinate Gorbachev. He informs Reagan of the plot, creating interesting moral dilemmas for both men: Should the president warn the head of an enemy state? Given an order with which he disagrees, does Oakes obey, or remain loyal to his Agency contacts? Urbanely written, the novel has enough information about Oakes's past to satisfy newcomers to the series and plenty of Beltway subculture references (including an appearance by Buckley himself). The plotting is strong, the story interesting and enjoyable, but Buckley raises complex ethical issues only to skate over them. A little more depth would have made this genial novel truly compelling. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
In the best Blackford Oakes novel yet (Tucker's Last Stand, 1991, etc.), the master of the double bind builds a plot that places the CIA chief of covert ops squarely between the Maelstrom and the Wandering Rocks. Buckley dips into Black's college days, his marriage to Sally following her widowhood, with glances into the days with Kennedy and Johnson. Now, in 1995, as covert ops honcho, he's called before the Senate to defend his affair with "Cyclops"—and refuses, risking jail instead. While President Clinton schemes to save covert ops from the Senate, we are told that sometime during the Reagan Administration—about 1985—before Gorbachev led the USSR into dissolution, Black was contacted by his old Russian buddy and adversary, Cyclops (now 85), and given knowledge that could be entrusted to Black alone: only two people, Cyclops and Black, could know that a tiny knot of very young, hotblooded, idealistic Russian dissidents, modeling themselves on the original 19-century Narodniki whose fiery-minded assassinations inspired Lenin's boldest moves, have taken it upon themselves to assassinate Gorbachev. Buckley has huge fun drawing these youths, their backgrounds, education, and military service (as did Dostoyevsky in drawing his Narodniki in The Devils) and his mastery of the Russian terrain and mentality takes on tremendously entertaining firmness. Black goes to Reagan for a one-on-one confab that must not go out of the Oval Office. Should he turn his buddy Cyclops and the Narodniki over to the KGB? Ronnie stalls, It's not our business. Then he meets Gorbachev at Reykjavik, likes him, and tells Black the Narodniki must go. Heavy-hearted Black takes off for Moscow as theassassins fail at a first attempt and mount a second. His mission: death to the Narodniki.... Top-drawer storytelling, as Blackford scrabbles for his soul.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781888952742
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/01/1998
Series:
Blackford Oakes Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
249
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.18(h) x 0.71(d)

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