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Circle William Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (January 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671020978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671020972
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,595,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Retired navy officer and ex-CIA man Harlow crafts a clever, well-plotted debut about two high-placed, competitive brothers whose complementary talents foil a Libyan attempt at germ warfare. Older brother Jim Schmidt happens to be White House press secretary, while his younger sibling, Bill, is captain of the U.S.S. Winston Churchill; their lives don't intersect as much as run parallel in alternating chapters. The Churchill and its crew have a cowboy reputation that is amply displayed in the opening chapters, so amply, in fact, that the reader might wonder whether all those hijacks have a point to them. When U.S. intelligence discovers that the Libyans are plotting a germ warfare strike on Israel, the news can't be released without prompting General Ghadafi to order another strike with a weapon that's already been smuggled into the country. This means that any attempt to stop a preemptive Israeli attack has to look like an accident?and thanks to a beautiful and determined reporter from the Washington Post, Sue O'Dell, Bill Schmidt and the Winston Churchill receive front-page press as an accident waiting to happen. Harlow expertly sets up the perfect ruse for an "accidental" shootdown of a Libyan jet (the title refers to a shipboard defense against radiation and chemical-weapons attack), while Jim's official involvement keeps the reader apprised of backstage maneuverings. Subsequent naval scenes vie with the White House settings for authenticity; there's an especially entertaining sequence about a media flap that occurs because somebody says the truth aloud. The plot takes several interesting turns before racing to a suspenseful climax. Despite characterization that some may consider naive(e.g., that there might actually be a reporter patriotic enough to put her country's best interests ahead of a story), Harlow offers a chipper, spirited first effort that augurs well for a new career. Agent, Sloan Harris.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

A retired navy captain and former White House press secretary (and now the CIA's director of public affairs) crafts a thriller featuring two brothersAa naval commander and a White House press secretaryAcalled upon to run a tricky operation.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
This book is engaging, well paced and well written.
A Customer
When I bought this book I thought it would be (hopefully) an interesting and easy read for an airplane ride.
Peter L Dales
The author, Bill Harlow, combined fact with fiction and his very active sense of humor.
Timothy R. Adams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By SRK on November 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I took the time to write this review because I thought the reviewer from Kirkus is way off base.
I READ A LOT. I bought this book at a dollar store for one dollar. That does not speak well for it. I bought it because it came well recommended from people who have been on the inside-- Navy Secretaries, Press Secretaries. They couldn't put it down.
I think it is the best piece of modern fiction I have read in a long time. It is funny. It is way beyond those Tom Clancy dreary soap operas where everyone has such cute, perfect and extremely well-documented lives. It is about PEOPLE who are well sketched (in a brief format of a 300-page novel). The story is just part of the lives of these people.
I think I know why this book has struggled. It is politically incorrect. He slams National Public Radio for being a bunch of windbags. Now, how are you supposed to get reviewed by effete pace setters if you slam them in your book? Also, Mr. Harlow makes the outrageous suggestion in 1999 that America could conceiveably come under attack by a bunch of crazed terrorists. Admittedly, this is far-fetched. At least it was far-fetched in 1999.
This is an outstanding work for a first novel, yea, a one hundredth novel. Note: it is not Henry James. Thank goodness, it is not Tom Clancy either.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric Parkinson on February 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing to me how a handful of major book reviewers with an attitude can affect the market's reception to an otherwise stunning work. It's hard for me to believe that the reviewer from "KIRKUS" and I read the same book called "Circle William." As a longtime fan of Tom Clancy, Michael Crighton and John Grisham, I'd like to think I have a nose for hugely commercial works. "CIRCLE WILLIAM" is the greatest undiscovered political-military-terrorist-White House-suspense thriller in the past ten years. Someone at Scribner Publishing has a great eye for talent with Bill Harlow. But someone in Scribner's publicity and marketing department should be reassigned to Libya for allowing this terrific read to end up on a "remainder's table" at [local store]. With the right marketing and publicity, this should have been one of the top ten bestsellers of 1999. If you ask me, I think some jealous and bitter wanna-be novelist at "Kirkus" unfairly excised their bile on this great novel, and this may have tempered the publisher's enthusiasm to support the book. What a shame for book consumers, and what a shame for Kirkus. Will somebody out there please get Bill Harlow to write another superb thriller?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Landry on September 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I came across this book while researching the "competition" for my upcoming novel. Circle Williams shines like a diamond amidst the coals in the category of the military thriller. Harlow's characters are believable and realistic--especially the details about Churchill's XO; if he were a woman and in the medical field, he could very well be my husband's division officer!
The dialog is slick, clever and at times uproariously funny. It has the authenticity of conversations you might overhear between well-educated and intelligent professionals.
Of the dozens of books I've been subjecting myself to in my research, Circle William is the one exception: enjoyable and well-worth the time it took.
My only question is for Mr. Harlow: when will we see more from you? Please do say 'soon!'
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Bill Harlow knows his Navy, his bureaucrats and his bad guys! This was a delightful find. The Libyan government is up to no good, planning to gas Israel and the United States. The title refers to Navy slang for the procedure used by warships under chemical and/or biological attack.
Commander Bill Schmidt finds himself and his crew on the firing line (in more ways than one) in an effort to thwart the Libyan attack. Without giving too much away, Washington comes up with a hair-brained scheme and Bill's crew gets the assignment to carry out orders.
This book is engaging, well paced and well written. Like many first novels, it goes from beginning to end without many side trips. I've added Harlow's name to my list of authors to watch.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy R. Adams on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One day, in a bookstore not so far away, I was browsing for books, and came upon Circle William. I didn't recognize the author's name. I read the jacket and was intrigued. I read the first chapter and proceeded to the checkout; I was hooked. I hadn't read any good naval humor since Admiral Dan Gallery.
The author, Bill Harlow, combined fact with fiction and his very active sense of humor. Several times, I drew odd looks from my fellow railroad commuters when I laughed out loud when I was intently reading and would suddenly come upon one of Mr. Harlow's witicisms out of the blue. It was like hitting a humourous speed bump. And the great part is that the humor doesn't detract from the seriousness of the situation.
Many of the characters remind me of military and civilian characters I have known that take their responsibilities very seriously, but not themselves; they lighten up when the moment is appropriate.
I look forward to reading more of Mr. Harlow's books. (And more of the Schmidt brothers.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter L Dales on April 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I bought this book I thought it would be (hopefully) an interesting and easy read for an airplane ride. I read loads of technical material and like to mix it up with an action thriller. Little did I know that this book would be like no other I had read. It had mystery (keeps me wanting to read), action (why I bought it in the first place) and a great believable group of characters that I actually began to care about. Mostly action books do no character development. Harlows book does lots. The last thing is the humor. I found myself laughing and telling my wife what a good author this ex-naval guy was.
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