‘Sniper’s Honor,’ by Stephen Hunter

And here we have another Bob Lee Swagger book from Stephen Hunter. I might be tempted to say it was another improbable Bob Lee Swagger book, except that a) I loved it, and b) it still fails to reach the heights of improbability achieved by The 47th Samurai, which I also loved.

So it’s like this. At the beginning of Sniper’s Honor, old Bob Lee is mooning around his Idaho ranch, at loose ends, bored. Then he gets a call from a woman reporter friend in Europe, who wants some technical advice on a story she’s researching – the mysterious disappearance of a female Russian sniper in World War II. This sniper, “Mili” Petrova, was renowned as much for her beauty as for her deadly efficiency with a rifle. Sent on a mission to assassinate an important German general, she disappeared from history.

Suddenly Bob Lee is energized with curiosity. He flies to Ukraine to help the reporter investigate, an action which causes them to run afoul of mysterious, powerful personages who want the dead past to stay dead. Soon Bob and his friend are running through the Carpathian Mountains, hunted, with no resources to rely on but Bob’s instincts and experience. And some remarkably good luck stage-managed by the author.

I’ll admit there’s a lot of manipulation in the plot. Author Hunter works pretty hard to arrange things in such a way as to believably manipulate the satisfying outcome we expect and get. Plausibility is pretty low.

But it’s a Bob Lee Swagger book and it’s fun. Educational too. Good enough for me.

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