Thirty Seconds Over New York by Robert Buchard, front cover


The cover of the 1977 paperback edition of Robert Buchard's thriller Thirty Seconds Over New York features a menacing Chinese military officer in the lower right-hand corner and above him, a commercial airliner headed straight into the World Trade Center. Needless to say, in view of later real life events, the pulpy image is quite provocative.

The story, however, does not concern Islamic terrorists, it concerns Chinese terrorists led by the evil Col. Ni who has a diabolical plan to destroy Manhattan using a commercial French airliner (Buchard is French and the book was originally published in France in 1969) loaded with an atomic bomb.

The book's description of the suicide pilotís final push over the skies of Manhattan is eerily reminiscent of the semi-speculative accounts of the actions and emotions of the 9/11 hijackers:

"Thirty seconds more; hold on for just another thirty seconds, Fang Sen kept on repeating to himself... Even if they shoot me down now, he thought, I'll have time to press the button and set off the explosion. His eyes burning with fatigue, he saw ahead the straight avenues that led to the huge buildings. He let himself be guided by the widest avenue which led him to the tallest building."

The book has a twist ending that we won't spoil, but let's just say it is one that would delight Dick Cheney.
Thirty Seconds Over New York by Robert Buchard, back cover

Robert Buchard (translated from the French by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels
Copyright 1970; Published by William Morrow & Company, Inc.
New York
218 Pages


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