Balance of Power by James W. Huston (Book Review #2)


balanceofReviewed by Teri Davis

It’s not unusual for the President and Congress not to agree. It is unusual when someone is gutsy, o.k. ballsy; enough to actually do what they believe is the right thing to do. So, who is responsible for our reaction? What happens if the action causes a disaster? Who’s at fault then?

In James W. Huston, BALANCE OF POWER, an American ship in Indonesian waters is attacked. When a Navy SEAL team arrives at this ship it appears that all of those serving on this merchant ship were handcuffed to the ship and shot in the head, except the captain who is missing. One of the SEALs discovers an unusual device and begins to drill into it, causing an immediate explosion destroying the ship.

Now, the US needs to figure out who did this and why. No one is claiming responsibility and no foreign governments seem to have any useful information regarding the attack. Finally, there is a clue as to where the terrorists might be. The US President refuses to do anything and is tired of the revenge approach that has been previously used. The Speaker of the House sees this as an opportunity to advance himself politically. Through a seldom used item in the Constitution, one of the congressional aides discovers the use of the Letter of Marque and Reprisal. Although last used in the War of 1812, would this give Congress the power to send a Navy battle group to attack the terrorists?

This is a fast-moving, adventure-packed, novel. The characters are realistic and the action so intense that it does keep you up at night reading. You feel like the characters that cannot rest due to the intensity and the action, you, as a reader, also cannot rest.

This is a novel that was originally published in 1998 in hardcover, reprinted in paperback in 1999, and now again reappears in 2009 also in paperback form. It appears as if this novel is being considered as a movie.

James W. Huston grew up in Indiana and has earned a Navy ROTC scholarship. He then served in the Navy as a pilot and actually attended the TOPGUN training school. He then attended law school and moved to San Diego where he presently lives with his family.

After reading this novel, Huston obviously utilizes his past experiences into the characters within his novel. Looking over his novel, I see that he is often compared to Tom Clancy. He is less technical than Clancy but delves more into the characters and their relationships with each other. Personally, I prefer that in a novel.

Fast-paced, intense, exciting, page-turner, keeps you awake at night, all of those describe BALANCE OF POWER. What is most frightening to me was that this could really happen! If it ever does, I certainly hope that someone in either Congress or the Executive Office has read BALANCE OF POWER.



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