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Capitol Conspiracy: A Novel Hardcover – January 15, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
Book 16 of 18 in the Ben Kincaid Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Bernhardt's improbable 16th political thriller to feature Ben Kincaid (after 2007's Capitol Threat), President Franklin Blake survives an audacious terrorist attack at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, but the first lady does not. Kincaid, the junior Democratic senator from Oklahoma, finds himself backing a proposed constitutional amendment that would place vast emergency powers in the hands of a few men and allow for the suspension of most civil liberties. Kincaid's new wife and chief of staff, Christina, works to identify those behind the new Oklahoma City outrage, a group that may include that genre staple, the corrupt insider. Besides getting details wrong (the Department of Homeland Security is led by a secretary, not a director), the author fails to give the Kincaids worthy adversaries (two Secret Service agents posing as lobbyists try to intimidate Christina with compromising photos of her husband, but one of them forgets to remove his Secret Service lapel pin). Some readers may regard this effort as an unhappy melding of Mr. Smith Goes to Washingtonand the Patriot Act. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for William Bernhardt

Capitol Threat

“Plot twists, sly wit and political intrigue make this book exciting reading.”
–Tucson Citizen

“The murderer turns out to be about the last person you’d suspect.”
–Wisconsin State Journal

Capitol Murder

“A white-knuckle page-turner . . . Don’t start this book when you have something important to do.”
–The Oklahoman

“Political infighting and backstabbing, Kincaid faces it all.”
–New York Daily News

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345487567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345487568
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,778,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick R. Raley on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With all that is happening in the world around us, the plot of this book is not too far-fetched. It is easily believable that the President and others in political office could be attacked for the stances they have taken. Bernhardt invites the reader to ask themselves how far we should all go in order to protect our freedoms. Is it worth giving them up to speed the process of prosecution or should we never mess with the basic doctrine of the constitution?

A political web is spun around this story as you follow Senator Kincaid. As usual he finds himself in the middle of the controversy. And once again Ben goes against the grain. But this time he goes against everyone dear to him.

For those who love the storylines involving the other characters besides Kincaid, you may be disappointed. This book focuses mainly on the Senator as he attempts to forge the nation's ideals in a time of tragedy.

Don't let that dissuade you; this is definitely worth the read. Bernhardt fills the story with his flair for twists. You'll enjoy the ending. Moreover you'll wonder how you would have voted on the proposed Constitutional Amendment. After all it may be closer to your future than you think.

PATRICK RALEY is the author of the mystery, detective novel entitled "Precedent of Justice". Find out why Publisher's Weekly calls him "the next John Grisham."
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By Will on January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Bernhardt started with the "Capitol" series of his Kincaid novels, he lost his quality. These novels are mostly his political agenda disguised as a novel. Drop the political garbage, Bernhardt, and I will go back to reading the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is reasonably written, but most pages require such a painful degree of suspension of disbelief that I didn't enjoy reading it at all. You might argue that this is the case for all other Bernhardt books, but I felt this one much more severely!
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Format: Hardcover
The head of Homeland Security is missing and a Senator has been killed with ricin poisoning - and his last words were: "Oklahoma City."

Meanwhile, on the anniversary of the bombing, tragedy has once again struck Oklahoma City. At a memorial service, shots are fired and the First Lady is killed along with several Senators and Secret Service men. Now, only four days after the shooting, the President is pressuring the remaining Senator from Oklahoma to support a bill that repeals the Bill of Rights in a time of national emergency. This amendment, if passed, would in effect put total control of civil rights into the hands of a Security Council headed by one person.

Ben Kincaid, the junior Senator from Oklahoma, was at the scene during the attack and his best friend now lays in a coma after saving Ben's life and that of the President. With that as his driving force, Ben agrees to support the amendment, however, his chief of staff (who is also his wife) is dead set against this proposed bill. As opposing factors to the amendment line up for battle, not everyone is convinced the attack was by foreign terrorists working alone. There are too many things pointing to help from an inside source - someone inside the government.

While Ben is making speeches and appearing before committees promoting the amendment, his wife Christine, begins her own investigation into this latest attack at Oklahoma City. Emotions and suspicious are tossed out like nets and every government agency has its own agenda in the investigations and in the outcome of the President's proposed amendment.

The story takes you from the glitz and glitter of Washington elite to the darkest and dirtiest side of the nation's Capitol: blackmail, adultery, murder and children sold for sex.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Too bad Jimmy Stewart isn't around anymore. The character, Ben Kincaid, is a role that was made for him. In fact, he already played it in Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington. Kincaid is a young attorney with a very unsubstantial practice in Tulsa, suddenly catapulted to the nation's Capitol as an appointed Senator. As the junior Senator from the Great State of Oklahoma, no one pays much attention to him, but he has a way of getting into major situations.

At a major Presidential appearance commemorating the Oklahoma City Massacre, sniper fire kills the First Lady. Ben, of course, is present alongside the President, along with his best friend who saves their lives from a bomb underneath the Presidential limousine, but is hit by the explosion and remains comatose. The resulting furor results in the President proposing an Amendment permitting a six-person council to suspend various portions of the Bill of Rights in cases of "emergency."

The President, a Republican, asks Ben, a Democrat, to spearhead the effort to secure passage in the Senate. The House bill is a shoo-in, and given the high emotions extant, the public more than favors the measure. Various subplots play a role in moving the story forward. Will the forces of evil prevail, and the traditions and freedoms ensured by the Constitution be trampled on? Will Ben's friend survive? Will his new marriage overcome the split in the couples' opposing stance on the proposal? And so on.

"Capitol Conspiracy" is clever and entertaining, but unfortunately in pulling the various elements together, it almost becomes a potboiler. This is really too bad, because I rather enjoyed it until that point, despite the oversimplifications and somewhat wooden portrayals of many of the characters--but I suppose such descriptions are appropriate.
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