Cover image for The price of power : a novel
The price of power : a novel
Huston, James W.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow and Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
431 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Sequel to: Balance of power.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



From coast to coast, raves greeted James W. Huston's first electrifying thriller of Washington intrigue, Congressional confrontation, and fast-paced, flat-out war at sea. Now he's back with a new novel featuring the same winning style and many of the same characters, who face off once again in a deadly, winner-take-all encounter.

In a plot torn from tomorrow's headlines, the peacenik president court-martials the admiral who, in defiance of a presidential order, led Congress's attack on the same group of terrorists who set off the plot of Huston's last explosive novel, Balance of Power. The angry Speaker of the House retaliates by initiating impeachment proceedings. Jim Dillon, the Speaker's top aide, finds himself defending the admiral in the court-martial and is named number-two prosecutor for the upcoming impeachment trial.

Meanwhile, the terrorists are back in action: invading a U.S.-owned gold mine on an Indonesian island, murdering the American boss, and holding his wife hostage. The price for her life: release of the terrorists captured in the assault.

With The Price of Power, James W. Huston delivers another heart-stopping page-turner filled with military action and political intrigue.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The sequel to Balance of Power [BKL Mr 15 98] reads like a collaboration between Tom Clancy and John Grisham, which is hardly surprising, since Huston is a former naval aviator and a present-day lawyer. The book interweaves three plots: the court-martial of Admiral Ray Billings for disobeying the president's orders to ignore a congressional Letter of Marque and Reprisal, the attempted impeachment of President Manchester on the grounds of being unfit for office because of his pacifist Mennonite beliefs, and the deployment of SEALs to deal with further terrorist acts by the Indonesian who calls himself George Washington. The legal intrigues are much the strongest elements of the book, and Jim Dillon and Molly Vaughan, the champions of Admiral Billings, are much the most interesting characters in it. The overall effect, however, will surely keep Balance of Power readers turning pages and finishing the story with considerable satisfaction. Huston continues to be a most welcome newcomer to the ranks of thriller-scribblers. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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 presidentÄwho in turn is targeted for (of all things) impeachment. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.