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      A succession struggle ignited by the impending death of Fidel Castro is the catalyst for Stephen Coonts' suspense thriller, CUBA.

      As Havana heats up, the CIA learns that one of the presidential contenders, secret police chief Alejo Vargas, has developed biological weapons and installed them on half-dozen intermediate-range ballistic missiles delivered by the Soviets and installed in Cuba prior to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Vargas' plan: foment a crisis with the U.S. and cow the Americans with biological weapons, thereby uniting the Cuban people behind his leadership.

      Meanwhile, the hijacking of a freighter transporting chemical and biological warheads to the United States from the warehouses of Guantanamo Bay sets off alarms all over the hemisphere. While searching for the stolen warheads, Rear Admiral Jake Grafton is drawn into the growing Cuban crisis.

      Jake Grafton, the hero of six other Stephen Coonts bestsellers, from FLIGHT ON THE INTRUDER to THE RED HORSEMAN, is one of the stars of CUBA, but only one. Tommy Carmellini, burglar and reluctant CIA agent, makes a dazzling debut, one that ultimately led to starring roles in future tales.

       As always, Coonts' tale is full of memorable characters, such as Hector Sedano, the priest who believes Cuba is on the verge of greatness; his sister-in-law Mercedes Sedano, a patriot who risks everything for her country; younger brother El Ocho, the fiery youth who will build a Cuban future; and Carlos Corrado, a drunken fighter pilot who finally finds something worth fighting for.

      Full of red-hot action, high adventure, and enough suspense to fry nerve endings, CUBA was published in hardcover in August 1999 by St. Martin's Press in the United States and in September, 1999 by Orion Books in the United Kingdom. For those who wish to read the Grafton series in order, CUBA should be read after THE RED HORSEMAN.