Balance of Power

James W. Huston, Author
James W. Huston, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (372p) ISBN 978-0-688-15917-7
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-52006-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-380-73159-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4417-3596-6
Ebook - 560 pages - 978-0-06-117685-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-52515-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-3595-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 560 pages - 978-0-06-058202-9
Open Ebook - 560 pages - 978-0-06-058204-3
MP3 CD - 978-0-7861-9467-4
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4332-9428-0
Ebook - 560 pages - 978-0-06-180319-2
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A lot happens, to no great purpose, in this lackluster debut from former Navy pilot Huston. When Indonesians hijack an American freighter and kill the crew, the president refuses to retaliate. So the speaker of the house moves for impeachment on the grounds that the president is a closet Mennonite and pacifist, while his young aide Jim Dillon helps revive the congressional Letters of Marque and Reprisal--i.e., privateer commissions--to punish the hijackers, thus setting off a minor civil war at sea. Dillon gets off the Hill and into the action when he carries a Letter of Reprisal to the U.S. Navy group in the Java Sea and, in an even loopier plot turn, asks to go ashore with the invading forces. Off the battlefield, Dillon proves himself a wimpy washout in a tepid romance; the ""terrorists"" turn out to be merely pirates; the crisis is declared moot by the Supreme Court; the speaker inexplicably kills the impeachment bill (there is never a word about a vice president); and Huston strives for an ironic politics-as-usual ending. Except for David Pendleton, a silky old pro of a lawyer who steals every scene he's in, the characters are cardboard cutouts, while the book's hawkishness wears thin fast. Film rights to Disney; audio rights to HarperAudio; author tour. (June)
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