War of the Raven
Ranked by the American Library Association as "One of the Best World War Two Novels of All Time!"
"Kaplan takes the thriller genre at its word, moving as fast as Ludlum but with ten times the eye for settings and crisp characterization."
"A smashing, sexy and unforgettable read."
"In a word, terrific... The pace is blistering, the atmosphere menacing and decadent, and author Andrew Kaplan is in marvelously smashing form."
--New York Daily News
"Brimming with action."
--Washington Post Book World
"Successfully blends sex, suspense, sustained action, an exotic location, and historic plausibility... a superior thriller that is a memorable and entertaining reading experience."
"The characters and locales are brilliantly etched... the plot riveting."
"Excellent... pulsates with intrigue and dramatic suspense. A powerful read."
"Steamy, erotic, spellbinding fiction with more twists and turns than Hitchcock and Graham Greene combined."
–-Roderick Thorp, author of Die Hard and The Detective
"Andrew Kaplan surpasses the genre... a suspenseful, breathless story."
–-Warren Adler, author of War of the Roses
In 1879, after the War of the Deserts, my father came to inspect the land awarded him by General Roca. He came with eight gauchos, all that were left of those who were with him in the war. They were wild, those men. They would cut a man's throat or take a woman as easily as an animal. Not one of them had ever been inside a house, or eaten anything he hadn't either stolen or killed with his own two hands. They were the last of their kind and I don't know how my father managed to make them obey him, except that perhaps in him there was something more terrible, more to be feared than the easy savagery that was theirs.
They rode for days on the land that was now my father's. A quarter of a million acres and more. No one could say for certain, for there were no boundaries. Only an endless sea of pampas grass. The Indians had been eradicated in the war, every last one, and the land was utterly empty. In those days, before the coming of the automobile, a man on a good horse could ride all day and not see another living soul.
Finally, they came upon a towering ombu tree in the middle of the pampa. It was the only tree, in fact the only thing that stood above the level of the grass for fifty leagues in any direction. Father ordered one of his gauchos to climb the tree to survey this new domain. Up he went, quick as a monkey, to the very top. There was nothing, he shouted down, not even smoke from a campfire for as far as the eye could see. But he did find something. Caught in a branch near the top of the tree was the rotting carcass of a raven with a dead fieldmouse clenched in its claw. The raven had been trapped in such a way that if he had let the mouse out of his clutches, he would have been able to free himself. Instead, the bird had chosen to die, rather than release his prey.
This pleased my father immensely. He had the decaying raven nailed to the tree, which he declared would stand in the courtyard of what would be the finest estancia on the continent. The tree still stands there, even to this day.
And he gave the estancia the name "Ravenwood", in memory of the only hate in nature he had ever found to match his own.
--from the journal of Lucia de Montoya-Gideon
US OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES, APRIL 1941