The Maltese Attack by Jay Perin is a political and historical thriller. The book centers on U.S. Senator Temple in the midst of deep tensions between Libya and the United States during the 1970s. Gaddafi had gripped the region with his tyrannical power. Major oil companies and holdings were constantly at risk of succumbing to Gaddafi's shrewd tactics. Senator Temple has to navigate the tenuous situation politically and economically. Haunting him is a poor decision made in the past to let an oil tycoon on the loose. Can he do enough to bring three oil companies and their leaders together to secure the region and his political aspirations? We meet Senator Temple in the opening chapter on a search-and-rescue mission to save two teenagers who will prove to be the key to Temple's hopes.
The Maltese Attack by Jay Perin is a well-written political and historial thriller. It moves at a steady pace without getting too bogged down in the political details (like voting processes and other politicians). Historical facts weave their way through the story, usually with description, but sometimes refreshingly through the dialogue of the characters. One thing Perin does very well is introduce Senator Temple at the very beginning, but then basically leaves him out of the story while telling the background and developing the other characters. Doing so makes Harry and Lilah feel essential at the end of the story, which is the whole point. By the end, you can imagine Senator Temple working his machinations behind the scenes the whole time, but the reader is left to imagine much of what he has had to do to secure his own position. The reader is also helped by Perin's listing of the cast of characters at the very beginning of the book, so the relationships between the characters can be kept in mind throughout.