AUTHORSmith, Martin Cruz
TITLEStallion Gate
PUBLISHERBallantine Books
CITYNew York, NY

This novel about the making of the atomic bomb presents historical figures in a suspenseful thriller that is more fiction than historical fiction. Its four main characters are Robert Oppenheimer, General Groves, Klaus Fuchs, and Sergeant Joe Pena, the fictional hero. Anna Weiss, a refugee from the Holocaust, comes to Los Alamos and falls in love with Joe, and this becomes the main plot. Peña, a Native American in the U.S. Army, is ordered by his superior, Capt. Augustino, to find or fabricate proof that Robert Oppenheimer is spying for “the commies”. Peña fails to convince Augustino that the charge is false. Augustino ignores the sergeant's evidence against two actual traitors at the site: Harry Gold and Klaus Fuchs. Peña's troubles multiply, as he gets involved with local Native Americans, disturbed by the mysterious activities on their land. The novel barely mentions the scientific and historical milieu of the Manhattan Project. Though a far cry from literature, it is engaging and easy reading, and moves at a brisk pace beginning in November 1943 and climaxing with the Trinity test. It received positive reviews from several major newspapers.

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