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The Price of Power

The Price of Power

3.6 6
by James W. Huston

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An admiral is on trial for having defied the President while carrying out the orders of a rebellious Congress; a President is on trial for having failed to act when a crisis threatened his country.

Congressional aide Jim Dillon discovered a little- known provision in the U.S. Constitution, and it plunged the federal government into chaos. Now he struggles to


An admiral is on trial for having defied the President while carrying out the orders of a rebellious Congress; a President is on trial for having failed to act when a crisis threatened his country.

Congressional aide Jim Dillon discovered a little- known provision in the U.S. Constitution, and it plunged the federal government into chaos. Now he struggles to gain control over the extraordinary events his actions precipitated, volunteering for the defence team at the court martial of Admiral Ray Billings, who disregarded a presidential order by leading an assault on foreign terrorists.

Meanwhile, in the South Pacific, a fanatic plans to exploit the weaknesses of an American government in upheaval by brutally shedding American blood and taking innocent citizens hostage. But nothing will prevent a great nation from doing what is right, no matter what the price, not when the honour and the future of America is at stake.

Editorial Reviews

Clancy lovers, set your sights on James W. Huston's (Balance of Power) sophomore effort, The Price of Power. This mesmerizing, high-octane techno-ride, which sweeps from the Oval Office to a Navy SEAL assault to hearings on the impeachment of the president, will have your adrenaline pumping in no time flat.
Washington Post
If you like Tom Clancy, Huston is a good step up.
San Francisco Examiner
Huston's geopolitical thriller is a winner.
Star Ledger
Huston has scored another success, doing for military law and constitutional questions what Scott Turow has done with civil and criminal law. And just as successfully.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Those who enjoyed Huston's debut in the political-military thriller Balance of Power might take to this near-clone; others probably won't. Returning hero attorney Jim Dillon, top aide to Speaker of the House John Stanbridge, is at the forefront of two high-profile political trials. The first involves the court martial of one Admiral Ray Billings, accused of disobeying a direct presidential order (albeit while following a congressional order), resulting in the death of American troops. The second is the impeachment and Senate trial of President Edward Manchester, also familiar from Balance of Power and now charged with "pacificism" and subsequent dereliction of duty. The narrative is tautly written but mechanical, with few surprises. It begins with the terrorist kidnapping of the CEO (and his wife) of the world's largest American-owned gold mine, in West New Guinea, then segues into military maneuvers involving Navy SEALs. Dillon's role in defense of Billings at the admiral's trial leads to his appointment to the team prosecuting the president at the impeachment trial. Much of the legal manipulation at that trial depends on semantic technicalities and ingenious interpretations of the Constitution, leading to a grandstanding conclusion. In the midst of these wranglings and legal heroics, Dillon continues to pursue his personal relationship with attorney Molly Vaughan. Readers attuned to Huston's lockstep plotting ought to be able to guess the outcome, but they should be impressed anyway by the authenticity of the author's procedural details, apparently based on his experience as a lawyer, Top Gun graduate and former naval flight officer. The cartoonish characterization of the pacifist president, however, who more or less blames the U.S. for WWII, lacks credibility, and the hawkish politics that pervade the narrative may turn off some readers. (June)
Library Journal
In this sequel to the successful Balance of Power, an admiral who has defied orders by invading a small Indonesian island is court-martialed by an angry president--who in turn is targeted for (of all things) impeachment.
Kirkus Reviews
A dated, tediously plotted revision, posing as a sequel to Huston's stirring, high-tech Washington legal procedural, Balance of Power (1998). That annoying Indonesian pirate who calls himself George Washington is at it again. This time, he's kidnapped the president and wife of an American company operating a jungle gold mine. Washington kills the husband and threatens to torture the wife if the US doesn't return his 28 compatriots, captured in a daring raid by Admiral Ray Billings at the end of Balance of Power. Billings used an obscure Constitutional provision discovered by legal wizard Jim Dillon as justification to disregard an order from waffling, pacifistic US President Manchester to let the Indonesian government handle the problem. Now, a vengeful Manchester has ordered Billings court-martialed. Disgusted that his boss, House Speaker Stanbridge (a Newt Gingrich stand-in), won't help raise money for the admiral's defense, Dillon quits his job and offers to defend Billings pro bono. White House Counsel Molly Vaughn, Dillon's on-again, off-again fiancée, is similarly disgusted with the President's paranoid chief of staff, Arlan Van den Bosch. She quits and joins Dillon in time to take a bullet (not fatal) meant for the admiral. As Dillon improvises his defense, Stanbridge rams a quickie impeachment hearing through Congress, accusing the President of not protecting American lives on foreign soil. Dillon and Vaughn discover a military technicality that exonerates the admiral and yet another Constitutional provision that gives Congress the power to send in the Navy SEALs—but not before Dillon gets his old job back and becomes point man at the President's impeachment trial,where he ultimately forces Manchester to let the SEALs do their thing. Right-wing cant and a vastly hypothetical scenario reduce this overlong cautionary tale to little more than a hardware-heavy Tom Clancy clone. (Author tour)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.32(d)

Read an Excerpt

The black cigarette boats were barely discernible in the darkness. The low rumble of each boat's engine merged with the other three as they drifted closer together. The sea was unusually calm for a hot South Pacific night. The moon was just breaking over the horizon and threw vague shadows on the water as the boats glided toward the shore of Irian Jaya. A small Indonesian man in black clothing guided the lead boat under a large tree and threw the engine into reverse to slow the boat's momentum. As the boat nudged the shore another man lowered himself over the side into waist-deep water and strode up the bank with a line attached to the bow. He wrapped the line around one of the massive trees ten feet up from the shore. The other boats followed suit. The engines fell silent and the boats bobbed along, separated only by black rubber bumpers. Without a sound, men moved carefully but quickly to the bow of each boat and let themselves down into the water. Each carried an assault rifle and a backpack. Each wore the same black clothing. Their darkened faces were invisible.

When they had gone ashore, thirty of the men stood in a clearing around their leader. He reviewed their instructions quietly. They signaled their understanding. They checked their rifles and backpacks. When the leader was satisfied, they squatted on their heels under the jungle canopy and waited. The leader checked his watch several times. Finally, after fifteen minutes, a half-naked figure emerged from the darkest part of the jungle. He had been watching them.

The leader was annoyed at having been made to wait; he was on a schedule. He went to the man and spoke to him in Indonesian. The half-naked man pointed. Theleader motioned for him to go and for the rest to follow. They turned inland on a small trail in single file. The leader and guide set a quick but careful pace toward tile largest gold mine in the world.

Dan Heidel stared out of the small window in his bedroom. He leaned forward, resting the weight of his shoulders on his hands, which grasped the window frame above his head. He drank in the smells and listened to the sounds of jungle. He glanced over his shoulder at his wife. "Smells like rain."

She slipped her white silk nightgown on and pulled her hair back. "It's a rain forest."

"It's so beautiful and peaceful. I love it," he said, adjusting his striped pajama bottoms. He wasn't wearing a shirt. "Only nine more months. I'm going to miss it."

"I will too, but it'll be nice to go back. We're so far from everything."

"It's been good for my career

Connie smiled as she brushed her hair. "Harvard MBA to sit in a jungle?"

He scratched his flat stomach. "No — to be the president of the biggest gold mine in the world." He sat in the wicker chair in the corner of the room. "Mind if I leave the windows open tonight instead of using the air conditioner? I'd like some fresh air."

"Fine with me." She sat on the edge of the sumptuous bed covered with pressed linens.He opened the other window and walked to the door.

She watched him prop the heavy' wooden door open. "We're not supposed to leave the door-"

"What could happen? We're in the middle of a compound. There are guards on our front porch."

"I know. It's just the rule —"

"Live dangerously for once," he said, looking for the book he had been reading. "Did you check on the kids?"

"They're fine. Both asleep." She turned around and faced him. "Have you thought about it?"


"Sending the kids to live with your brother. Richard will be ready for high school in the fall."

"They're doing fine."

"Don't you want them to be able to go to a football game?"

"Let's talk about it tomorrow." Heidel found his book and picked it up.

"You going to read?"

"Just for a few minutes."

She pulled the covers back. "I'm really tired."

"Okay. Night."

"Good night." She lay on her side facing the wall away from him. He turned off the overhead light and turned on a small brass lamp on his nightstand. He started to read as something screeched in a tree nearby.

Copyright ) 1999 by James W. Huston

Meet the Author

A graduate of TOPGUN, James W. Huston flew F-14s off the USS Nimitz with the Jolly Rogers. He served as a naval flight officer and worked in Naval Intelligence before becoming a lawyer and the acclaimed author of The Shadows of Power, Balance of Power, The Price of Power, Flash Point, and Fallout. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Price Of Power 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But these guys really need to hire a proof reader. The constant use of "th" rather than "m" gets old fast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is very very good if you are able to determine certain words. My eighth grade language arts students could have done a better editing and spell check job on this book. He wrote a great book; however his publishing house used a kindergartner to edit it! Fire the editor; keep the author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can we start a fund raising campaign so James Huston can hire an assistant to check his spelling for his next e-book? Love the book, but the consistency with which the spelling errors occur are akin to a visual speed bump or pothole.
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SpeedyPJS More than 1 year ago
well worth the read