Decent entry in the cold war paranoia-mania genre. Russia has a nuke orbiting the Earth. Will they drop it?
It’s July,1973. Russia has a new Chairman. He and the President of the United States are two weeks away from peace talks. At the remote missile base in Novaya Zemlya a bomb is set to be dismantled after one last test. A rogue Colonel launches it instead. It’s a nuke. A secret U.S. astroplane investigates. The satellite’s tubes start to point to it. Then there’s an explosion.
The President calls in his Executive Committee and it’s Hawks vs. Doves. One Senator is chomping at the bit to destroy the Russian base. The President put the country on red Alert One. The Russians deny they launched anything. A U.S. nuclear sub is sent into the Arctic near the base. A second secret plane is set to take off and head for the satellite.
What none of them know is that Chinese Chairman Peng Yi has control of the orbiting bomb. Thanks to his agents in Russia he has his finger on the button. If the Russians go to press it nothing will happen. He wants to use it to blackmail the U.S. into concessions and he’d also like the U.S. and Russia to go at it with China picking up the spoils. The orbit is decaying and the satellite will burn up in reentry in five days. China is deploying troops on the Russian border.
This book has a lot of suspense. It’s not at the heights of “Fail Safe” etc. but SF author Sutton has put together a story worth checking out.