Books: Fallout Stallion Gate

by Martin Cruz Smith Random House; 321 pages; $17.95

The building and testing of the first atom bomb is one of the century's great stories. So it takes a bit of nerve to turn this modern Promethean tale into a popular thriller, especially if the hero is a Pueblo Indian Army sergeant who is also a prizefighter, jazz pianist and catnip to the ladies.

Martin Cruz Smith is no stranger to risky fusions. He is the author of Gorky Park, a story of Communists and furriers. Scientists and Indians seem just as incongruous, even though the two groups actually did share the stage at a critical moment in history. Smith,...

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