Stallion Gate

( 4 )

Overview

In a New Mexico blizzard, four men cross a barbed-wire fence at Stallion Gate to select a test site for the first atomic weapon. They are Oppenheimer, the physicist; Groves, the general; Fuchs, the spy. The fourth man is Sergeant Joe Pena, a hero, informer, fighter, musician, Indian. These four men -- and a cast of soldiers, roughnecks and scientists -- will change history forever.

From the author of Gorky Park comes a novel of earth-shattering proportions. In a New ...

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Overview

In a New Mexico blizzard, four men cross a barbed-wire fence at Stallion Gate to select a test site for the first atomic weapon. They are Oppenheimer, the physicist; Groves, the general; Fuchs, the spy. The fourth man is Sergeant Joe Pena, a hero, informer, fighter, musician, Indian. These four men -- and a cast of soldiers, roughnecks and scientists -- will change history forever.

From the author of Gorky Park comes a novel of earth-shattering proportions. In a New Mexico blizzard, four men crossed a barbed-wire fence at Stallion Gate to select the test site for the first atomic weapon. They were Oppenheimer, the physicist, Groves, the general, Fuchs, the spy, and Sergeant Joe Pena. Four men in a covert world of soldiers and scientists, roughnecks and rougher women, all about to partake in the most important ten seconds the world has ever seen.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smith seamlessly blends fact and fiction in this towering novel, a successor to his remarkable Gorky Park. The story begins at Los Alamos in 1945, where hordes of people arrive and set up a community almost overnight. Sgt. Joe Pena, an Indian in the U.S. Army, is ordered by his superior, Capt. Augustino, to find or fabricate proof that Robert Oppenheimer is spying for ``the commies.'' The charge is silly, Pena knows, but he fails to convince Augustino, who also ignores the sergeant's evidence against two actual traitors at the site: Harry Gold and Klaus Fuchs. Pena's troubles multiply with his involvement with local Native Americans, disturbed by the mysterious activities on their land. As the days pass and work on the atom bomb progresses, the clash between Pena and the insanely bigoted captain becomes unavoidable. It occurs at the peak of suspense and leaves a lasting impact on the reader. This is a monumental thriller in which the tormented Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, General Leslie Groves and other historic figures live again. Equally memorable is Joe Pena, a genuine hero. 125,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC alternate. May 2
Library Journal
Switching from mystery/intrigue to straightforward character novel, author Smith Gorky Park roughly outlines the development, under J. Robert Op penheimer, of the first nuclear weapon at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The im pending test blastwith its foregone historical conclusionserves as little more, however, than anchor and chro nological end frame to an otherwise aimless plot exhibiting muted prose, wistful philosophy, and nonexistent suspense. In central focus, yet not fully realized as character, stands Sergeant Joe Pena, an independent Pueblo Indi an and self-contained veteran of mili tary action mostly as boxer and pia nist in the Philippines who drives for ``Oppy. '' Joe's episodic antics he likes to flout authority juxtapose natural i.e., Indian, the desert and unnatural i.e., U.S. Army, the bomb. Evocative at times, but largely unsympathetic and ultimately inadequate. BOMC alter nate. Rex E. Klett, Anson Cty. Lib., Wadesboro, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345310798
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1987
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 426,290
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.79 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Cruz Smith
Martin Cruz Smith
Best known for the Moscow detective novel Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith is also known for delivering stories of crime, conspiracy and intrigue featuring protagonists whose loyalties are sometimes murky. Whether he is dramatizing history or fashioning his own facts, Smith fills his deeply researched novels with a sense of darkness underneath the detail.

Biography

"You have to be an outsider to write," the novelist Martin Cruz Smith has said, and the protagonists of Smith's novels also tend to be outsiders, viewing their surroundings with the wariness and sharpened attention of the displaced. Smith spent his early writing years churning out potboilers, but with the 1977 publication of Nightwing, a bestseller about a plague of vampire bats that descends on a Hopi Indian reservation, Smith finally earned enough money to embark on the book he really wanted to write: a detective novel set in Moscow.

The book opens on a grisly scene: three corpses are found frozen in Gorky Park, their faces and fingerprints obliterated. Homicide investigator Arkady Renko is put on the case, but his superiors seem less than eager to uncover the truth. Dense, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Gorky Park drew comparisons to the spy novels of John le Carré. It was hugely successful, and was made into a movie starring William Hurt in 1983. Smith wrote a historical novel about the first atom bomb, Stallion Gate, before returning to Renko’s checkered career as a detective in Polar Star and Red Square. Though he bears some resemblance to the disaffected detective of noir tradition, the cynical, depressive Renko also exemplifies the Soviet dissident -- an outsider in his own country.

Renko has been immensely popular with readers, some of whom were disappointed when Smith's 1996 novel Rose featured a new protagonist. But most Renko fans were won over by boozy, broke mining engineer Jonathan Blair, who arrives in an English coal-mining town on a mission to clear up the mysterious disappearance of the local curate. Time magazine called Rose "the most interesting and richly textured crime story of the season."

One thing that sets Smith's work apart from other thrillers is the breadth and depth of his research. Before writing Gorky Park, the author visited Moscow, befriended exiled Russians and read scores of Russian newspapers and magazines in translation. For Rose, he spent weeks in Lancashire talking with miners and visiting mines. Smith's recent works Havana Bay, in which Renko goes to Cuba, and December 6, set in Tokyo just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, are equally fortified with research.

Though he's best known for Gorky Park, now considered a classic in the spy thriller genre, Smith is clearly a writer with more than one trick up his sleeve. "I never thought I would just be doing Arkady books," he once told a Salon interviewer. "I never intended to do any after Gorky Park, so I was pretty amazed when people asked me a few years ago what I was going to do now that the Cold War was over, as if I had been manufacturing missiles. I hate to be categorized. The great thing about being a writer is that you are always recreating yourself."

Good To Know

Martin Cruz Smith was born Martin William Smith, but changed his middle name to his grandmother's surname, Cruz. Smith is the son of a white jazz musician and a Pueblo Indian jazz singer.

George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier was one inspiration for Smith's novel Rose, set in the English coal-mining town of Wigan; another was a magazine article about the "pit girls" who flouted Victorian convention by wearing pants for their dangerous jobs above the mines.

Havana Bay, which reached No. 17 on the bestseller list, apparently didn't sell quite well enough to keep both author and publishers happy; a Random House publicity director told Salon that "[Havana Bay] didn't do as well as we'd hoped." After it came out, Smith left Random House for Simon & Schuster, which was looking to add more authors who could draw a male audience.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Martin William Smith (birth name); Simon Quinn; Jake Logan
    2. Hometown:
      San Rafael, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 3, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Reading, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1964
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Seriously good read!!

    While I liked Cruz Smith's later book on a related topic, December 6, I really enjoyed his take on the testing of the first atomic bombs in New Mexico. His characters are always so complex and vibrant. It was so easy to picture the lead, Joe Pena, that I swear I know him already. Another fantastic novel by the sadly, always under-rated Martin Cruz Smith!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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