Madeline O'Keith Turner faces a sea of troubles upon becoming the first woman President of the US, and her military aide...
by ‧RELEASE DATE: May 1, 1997
Madeline O'Keith Turner faces a sea of troubles upon becoming the first woman President of the US, and her military aide Robert Bender struggles to guide her through them in a heady change-of-pace yarn from Herman (Iron Gate, 1996, etc.) When a death in the Oval Office puts Maddy Turner in the White House, the comely widow looks for support from Patrick Shaw (her snaky chief of staff) and the true-blue Bender (a three-star Air Force general who wants only to be back with the troops). As it happens, the former California legislator may need something very like divine intervention. Her predecessor secretly sold out Taiwan, and an emboldened Peoples Republic of China is on the move in Asia. Obstinately more concerned with domestic social programs and tax reform, Maddy dithers while Bender burns. Meantime, an unholy alliance of reactionary senators and cabinet members (abetted by the faithless Shaw) is plotting to destroy the Turner presidency. Once the PRC displays its nuclear capabilities with a blast on a deserted but disputed atoll, however, the rookie Chief Executive honors the threat with semi-decisive action. Making Bender her National Security Advisor, she dispatches him to negotiate with the Communist Chinese. Before a deal can be done, hard-liners vying for power in Beijing detain her envoy. At length, she orders a tit-for-tat detonation, which comes a cropper when the atomic warhead fails to explode. With the clock running out on both America's prestige and Bender's life expectancy, the US military scrambles to put another bomb on the showcase target (now occupied by PRC troops). Until the close, though, there's a world of doubt as to whether the bleeding-heart Commander in Chief will use deadly force against an obvious foe. A conventionally macho technothriller with a wicked twist--a female President whose shaky grasp on geopolitical reality drives the absorbing narrative in surprising ways.