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Former journalist Hunt's sequel to Corrupts Absolutely(2005), which boldly imagined a near-future U.S. in which the war on terror has led to martial law, further explores the war's impact on American society, but the execution falls short of the intriguing premise. In the opening pages, headlines announce that the Martial Law Act has been repealed, the shadowy Bureau of Illegal Substance Control is to be disbanded, and Islamic fundamentalists have finally overthrown the Saudi royal family. As a bitter presidential election looms, Elliott Delgado, an investigative reporter, and Leah Berglund, a social worker who used to be an officially sanctioned assassin, learn that some suitcase nukes have entered the U.S. as part of a plot meant to dwarf the 9/11 tragedy. Paul Oppermann, the Yiddish-spouting FBI director, and former senator Adam Manchester, the leading Republican presidential candidate, make unlikely action allies as the plot builds to its uninspired climax. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.