A political thriller that explores the grim consequences of a cataclysmic terrorist attack on Washington, D.C.
In his sequel to 2014’s Presidential Intentions, Wood (101 Things I Want to Say…The Collection, 2013, etc.) brings back Samantha Harrison, a one-time Republican candidate for president. Now Hillary Clinton occupies the Oval Office, and Harrison has lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia. With her once-bright political future now murky, Harrison considers exiting public life for private pursuits. However, Gov. Eric Cantor of Virginia presents her with a new opportunity: veteran congressman Frank Wolfe plans to retire, and he wants Cantor to install Harrison as his replacement. She quickly accepts, which instantly reintroduces her into the Washington political fray. Meanwhile, in a continuation of a plotline from the previous book, an Iranian plan unfolds that aims to bring the U.S. government to its knees. Harrison soon finds herself challenged like never before, both as a leader of a hobbled country and as a mother grieving the death of her son. The depiction of the hateful, calculating lead terrorist, Kazim Maalouff, is chilling; at one point, for example, he explains the inner logic of terrorism with a dark calculus: “No doubt you will never understand our cause. Violence is something America abhors unless they’re the ones dispensing it.” It’s not necessary to read the first book to appreciate the action of its sequel, but it will certainly help to gain a fuller understanding of the protagonist. The first installment rigorously develops the character of Samantha, revealing her political inclinations and worldview, while the sequel forces her to test the efficacy of those views in a crisis. This sequel is just as politically sharp, but it packs a more powerful dramatic punch. In the first book, for example, the terrorism took a back seat to domestic political intrigue, but this installment revolves around terrorist activity and even crescendos with it. Overall, this is a gripping read for political junkies of all partisan inclinations given its topical nature and its use of real-life political figures and issues.
Readers who enjoyed Presidential Intentions won’t be disappointed by this action-packed sequel.