From the Publisher
"Entertaining suspense that will please action-seekers."
"Fast-paced.... Entertaining political machinations."
The New York Times
"First-rate.... It will keep you up all night."
The Kingston Observer (MA)
"Crackling with chilling authenticity.... A superbly paced, tightly plotted winner."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
What sets the book apart is its timeliness: not only does the new president trample on civil liberties in his zeal to wipe out terrorism, but there's an unexpectedly fastpaced subplot involving one senator's efforts to stage a filibuster. That all this comes from somebody with Weinberger's conservative credentials adds an extraliterary element to the already entertaining political machinations.
The New York Times
Two term Reagan Secretary of Defense Weinberger collaborating with Schweizer (The Next War) turns in a debut political thriller crackling with a chilling authenticity and riveting dirty dealing. When Secret Service Special Agent Michael Delaney, a longtime member of the presidential security detail, awakes blearily one morning at Camp David, he discovers that someone's swapped guns with him-and within minutes, the president and vice president are shot with Delaney's own Beretta. Before the wounded VP is taken to surgery, he's sworn in as president; moments later, multiple cities get hit in small but lethal coordinated attacks. The new POTUS, who sees opportunity in disaster, declares a state of national emergency, putting the entire nation under martial law, then prepares to take out a right-wing militia on whom he has pinned the attacks. Before a highly skeptical Delaney can catch his breath, he finds himself accused of being complicit in hitting the president and VP. The novel tracks, over nine days, the particulars of the White House power grab and Delaney's desperate attempts to derail it, both in the District and in some tense encounters with the Appalachia-based right-wingers. Despite some stilted dialogue, Weiberger and Schweizer have delivered a superbly paced, tightly plotted winner. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Chain of Command
By Caspar Weinberger
Pocket Star Copyright © 2006 Caspar Weinberger
All right reserved.
Friday, October 26, 9:08 A.M.
The Paymaster was opening his third pack of Marlboros when the phone rang. He dropped the cigarette pack on the desk. He'd been expecting the call, but still his fingers trembled nervously as he picked up the receiver.
"What!" he demanded.
The paymaster was sitting in a large, bare room in a slightly run-down industrial park outside Reston, Virginia. He was five feet six, bald, and soft-looking. He wore a pale blue short-sleeved polyester shirt and a dark blue polyester necktie. The sign above the door of the office read gilliland products. What kind of products, the sign didn't say. The paymaster had written a check in the amount of $936 to a graphic designer who wore too much hair gel to design the sign and another check in the amount of $458 to a painter to produce the sign itself. The paymaster remembered things like that -- numbers, figures, amounts. That's why he was good at his job. Gilliland Products had never had a customer or even a visitor during the entire year of its existence. In fact, when you got right down to it, there was no such thing as Gilliland Products at all. Just this seedy little office situated between a tae kwon do school and a nearly bankrupt caterer. The office containedone chair and one desk leased as a package from Staples ($27 a month), a low-end computer leased from Gateway ($48 a month), and one telephone equipped with the most sophisticated encryption available anywhere on the planet. The paymaster didn't know how much the phone cost and didn't care.
"It's done," the voice on the other end of the line said.
"We've been over this before. Initiate the termination procedures and proceed to Location Alpha."
"Roger that, Roger," the paymaster said derisively, stealing a line from the movie Airplane.
"Look, you little weasel, how about I spell this out. You think you're gonna pull a fast one, walk off with that hard drive? Uh-uh. If you don't burn that hard drive along with everything else, I will bury you in a hole where they'll never find you."
Burn the hard drive. Yeah, right. The paymaster's mama didn't raise no fool. That hard drive was the paymaster's ticket.
"Excuse me," the paymaster said, "but I know the procedure. Okay? I wrote the procedure." Which was a lie, of course. But who cared?
The paymaster slammed down the phone, finished opening his cigarette pack, lit up his forty-first Marlboro since he had come into the office the previous night. Then he took a Leatherman multitool out of his pocket and unscrewed the casing of the computer. Wouldn't you know it: as usual, the hard drive was always buried in a completely inaccessible location. As a result the Leatherman was really not up to the job of getting the retaining screws out.
The paymaster was beginning to sweat, and the Marlboro had burned right down to his lip by the time he got the first two screws out of the mounting bracket. He tossed his cigarette butt on the floor, started working on the third screw. At which point, the Leatherman slipped, and he gashed his finger on the sheet metal. Blood started oozing from the wound. The paymaster didn't like blood, it made him queasy. Which made him rush. Which made him careless. He stripped the fourth screw.
The hard drive hadn't budged. He planted his foot against the side of the computer and yanked. The sheet metal mounting bracket gave way, and the hard drive popped right out in his hand.
He smiled, opened his briefcase, took the dummy hard drive out of its factory-sealed package, and slid it into the drive bay.
Only it didn't fit because he'd ruined the mounting bracket getting the other one out.
He stared angrily at the offending hard drive. What was he going to do now?
Oh, for goodness sake! he thought. He was being paranoid. It's not like they were going to check. He had been absurdly cautious as it was. He slid the dummy drive in as far as it would go, plugged in the wire harness, slid the case back onto the computer, tightened the screws, and walked out of the building with the hard drive bumping around in his otherwise empty briefcase.
He started the engine of his Lexus, dialed a number on his cell phone, punched in a code -- his mother's birthday as it happened -- then backed out of his parking space.
He was halfway out of the parking lot when the first wisp of smoke began creeping out of a small black box mounted along the baseboard next to the desk he'd rented from Staples. By the time the paymaster's Lexus reached I-66, the entire building was enveloped in flame.
Copyright © 2005 by Caspar Weinberger and Peter Schweizer
Excerpted from Chain of Command by Caspar Weinberger Copyright © 2006 by Caspar Weinberger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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