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Publishers WeeklySet in 1946 as WWII recovery begins, the Sentinels, a counterespionage group first introduced in Zuckerman's Sentinels series first book, Fortunes of War, tackle the "members of a self-styled 'Oil Club.''' These seven companies present a potentially dangerous concentration of power that threatens to monopolize future world oil production. Equipped with customary espionage novel elements-double-crossings, raids, political interest-the Sentinels devise a worldwide plan to sever the corrupt alliance. While Zuckerman's exotic locations are well conceived and his plot thickened by rational solutions, this fast-passed thriller is often marred by obvious deductions and dialogue overflowing with clichés: "Blow the cover off that can of worms, and we have a whole new ball game." Despite their good-natured intentions, it's difficult to warm to the cast of Sentinels with comments like: "Your ideas and your superb way of expressing them make me proud to be living in a country of free speech." Zuckerman's latest doesn't require reading of the first but only offers an episode that fizzles out to a very predictable conclusion.
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