Cobweb, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


The Gulf War is imminent and there's something mighty strange going on in the Agriculture Department of East Iowa University.

When an Arab student turns up drunk - and dead - in the lake, redneck Deputy County Sheriff Clyde Banks gets a feeling he's on to something big.

It's a suspicion shared by low-ranking CIA agent Betsy Vandeventer.

But before two great minds yell conspiracy theory, in steps top US policy-maker James Millikan. Here's a man well used to dictating the Middle East's future - from a comfortable seat at a top Paris restaurant.

While shenanigans in the Midwest might not be exactly his style, there's a technique that serves America well in all matters of national security.

It's called the 'Cobweb', and it backfires every time...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9780099478850



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

Neal Stephenson is about one of my favorite science-fiction writers, but he’s also written two political novels with his uncle, Frederick George, under the pen name Stephen Bury. Both have since been re-issued under their real names, now that Stephenson is big-time. This one is an interesting take on just where Saddam Hussein got his bio-weapons ahead of the first Iraq war. All fictional, of course, but so convincing I actually went and did some Googling to see if any of it was based on truth. (It isn’t – as far as we know.)

Review by

For those of you that remember "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister" this more or less does the same job for the US administration as they did for the UK one. It's done with considerably less humour, and on occasion with the subtlty of an olympic heavyweight wrestling champion kicking the door down, but it's a horribly plausible description of how DC magnates ensure that things do, or more usually don't get done and why.It's set against the build-up to and parts of Desert Shield (that's the first Gulf War as we're more commonly calling it now) - the timing of the publication can't be a coincidence surely? That setting makes the rest of the story rather heavier in the world where Hussein has just been executed (that was today's big news story as I'm writing this).

Review by

Another excellent thriller from Stephenson. Can't really fault his writing, but you'll not find any new ideas here; just a well written, character driven thriller.

Review by

This is described on the front cover as “A wickedly satirical thriller of modern America”. I didn’t see much satire in it: appropriate cynicism, yes, but satire, no.The story is about the problems of bureaucracies and how demarcation lines and internal politics driven by personal ambition can lead to major mess-ups and the failure of the entire system to accomplish its primary objective. Set during the run up to the first Gulf war the novel deals with events in the US involving the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. Published in 1997 the tale describes a situation where the various elements of the US security establishment are more involved in fulfilling their individual missions and activities than in sharing intelligence about the activities of foreign operatives in Continental United States, something that was to be highlighted by investigations held after the events of the nine-eleven attacks in the US.One element of this book that worked well was its portrayal of the impact on people remaining at home while their loved ones in the military go off to war. This was made all the more poignant in Cobweb as it involved a reservist who is called up to serve. This book is not a regular Stephenson novel. It is an easy to read thriller but it is not a book I would recommend strongly.

Also by Frederick George