on March 26, 2005
William Safire, having been a speechwriter in the Nixon White House, has used his insider information to produce a novel of political drama.
As I read this book I was reminded of "The West Wing" television series. Like the series, the novel is populated with multi-layed and colorful characters. Safire wrote each chapter from the point of view of various players in the drama. I found it necessary to keep a list of characters to keep the story flowing.
Even though Safire is identified with Republican politics, Democrats need not worry. This is not a partisan novel. The hero is a fictional 41st Democrat President in power in the mid 1980s. He is blinded in an assassination attempt and struggles to hold on to his office. Members of his cabinet attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment on Presidential succession and he must stratigize a way to deflect treachery. The President is surrounded by close and loyal advisers but is forced to bring in a blind therapist to help him adapt to his new disability. The President must face the questions: "In a time of international turmoil, is the nation best served by a blind leader? Should he step aside and allow an incompetent and easily manipulated Vice President take over?"
Safire delightfully sprinkles in Presidential anecdotal tidbits which students of American history will enjoy.
The book is dated (published in 1977) and Safire's version of the alignment of futuristic international political blocs is a little tough to swallow. Despite a few shortcomings, overall I found the book an excellent read.
on July 20, 2001
In a bizarre assassination plot aimed at the two world leaders, the Russian premier is killed.
Sven Ericson, President of the United States, has survived...but the lusty, vital young leader is totally blind. In a world he can no longer see, the political fangs are bared. The jackals line up on either side to drive him from office - or clamor for power in the crisis.
Who can he trust now?
Which of his well-kept secrets will rise up now to strike him down? Can he trust his friends? His advisors? Can he even trust the woman who knows his deepest, most private hungers? While a frightend world waits, Ericson begins fighting back...in the dark.