In the second of the Ben Hunnicutt series, retired Major Ben Hunnicutt encounters an old Army friend who now commands the Nike Hercules missile units which defend Anchorage and nearby military installations from surprise Soviet bomber attack. It is 1969, the Cold War is at its height, the lower 48 states are in turmoil from violent dissident groups committing acts of domestic terrorism, and from a general rejection off the Viet Nam war.
The Nike commander enlists the aid of Ben and his girlfriend, FBI agent Liz Nichole, in investigating a rumored plot by a fringe Weathermen group to highjack a Nike nuclear warhead. The group intends, by threatening widespread radioactive contamination of the Anchorage area, to extort political and military concessions from the Army and from the federal government.
The dissidents succeed, and Ben must locate the stolen nuclear warhead and disrupt their plans. He locates the warhead, hidden in a disused mining area, but is captured and threatened with execution. Subsequent events lead to his escape and a final confrontation with an expert marksman during a desperate attempt to detonate an on-site missile and contaminate Anchorage and the nearby military installations.
About Don Neal (Anchorage, Alaska Author)
Don Neal, author of the Ben Hunnicutt novels, is a retired soldier. Reared in Suffolk and in Surry County, in southern Virginia, he dropped out of the College of William & Mary and enlisted in the Army after the Chinese entered the Korean War in 1950.
His 28 years of service encompassed nearly the entire Cold War, taking him to Japan, Germany, Korea, and Alaska. He has served in the Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor, and Air Defense branches. From 1968 through 1978, he worked with the Nike Missile units shielding Anchorage and Fairbanks from Soviet bomber attack.
He and his family have lived in Alaska for nearly fifty years. His hobbies include military history and the study of antique and historical firearms, with an occasional foray into drag racing. His novels first reflect Alaska as a Territory, then as a new state, before the discovery of oil and the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline.