During World War II, soldiers were hand-picked and dispersed throughout the world on spy missions that significantly affected the war's outcome. The most vital mission, however, was the one led by fighter pilot Richard Canidy. His job: Locate a secure source of uraninite, a valuable and rare material that is essential for an extremely powerful, top-secret weapon that could single-handedly turn the tide of the war.
First hardcover edition of a volume from a paperback series, on the OSS in WW II, that the ever-popular Griffin (Blood and Honor, 1997, etc.) published pseudonymously (in 1985) as Alex Baldwin.
In mid-1941, fun-loving Richard Canidy and straight-arrow Edwin Bitter are hotshot pilot instructors at the Navy's air station in Pensacola. With minimal prompting, they soon volunteer to serve with the so-called Flying Tigers. Before heading off (on a slow boat) to China, however, these two well-connected friends find time to join the social whirl in Washington, where crafty FDR has detailed Wild Bill Donovan to create an Office of Strategic Services. Shortly after arriving in Southeast Asia, Dick becomes an ace, downing five Japanese planes in a single sortie. The very same day, he's whisked away on orders from the White House. Meantime, the US (now at war against the Axis powers) plans to build an atomic bomb but lacks a secure source of uraninite. Which is where Dick comes in. His prep-school chum Eric Fulmar (the son of an American film actress and a German industrialist) is dodging the draft boards of both nations by hiding out in North Africa. Operating under cover from the US Embassy in Morocco, Dick is to enlist the aid of Fulmar in abducting a French mining engineer with badly needed information on a vital ore cache in the Belgian Congo. To make the mission more challenging, the amateur agents must carry out their assignment on a split-second schedule (to make an offshore rendezvous with a submarine) and get their man away without arousing the suspicions of either the Nazi or Vichy forces controlling the Maghreb coast.
A rousing to-the-ends-of-the-earth start for an absorbing narrative takeout on the shadow warriors who handled some decidedly odd jobs in aid of the Allied cause.