Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Book 106: Circle William

Book #:106

Book Title:Circle William

Author:Bill Harlow


Pub. Date:1999


Started:December 8, 2008

Finished:December 13, 2008

Time to Read:6 Days

Back Cover / Inside Flap:"Jim Schmidt is a master of spin. As White House press secretary, his job is to cajole, sweet-talk, and otherwise persuade the nation's most powerful journalists to play a story the way the White House wants it played. Jim's younger brother, Bill, is equally skillful, but in a different realm. He's the charismatic captain of the USS Winston Churchill, and he leads an able but rambunctious crew with a penchant for causing well-publicized "liberty incidents" around the Mediterranean.

Both men instinctively understand their jobs, but more important, they understand power and how it works: He who controls the facts controls the response. So when the United States learns of a Libyan plot to drop a planeload of chemical weapons on the Israeli Knesset, the brothers - thousands of miles apart - unexpectedly find themselves working together to defuse the plan. Their first step is to set "Circle William," a Navy phrase meaning to prepare for chemical, germ, or nuclear attack.

As Jim huddles with the country's top defense and intelligence officials to plot a viable strategy to prevent the strike, Bill, on the front lines of the crisis, prepares to implement the plan. Complicating their mission is the inconvenient presence of Sue O'Dell, a smart Washington Post Style reporter who wants to write a feature on the commander and his notorious ship.

How the brothers counter the Libyan threat and how they spin the story make Circle William as much a story of international terrorism as a contemporary political thriller."


Review:This was a fabulous book - I can't begin without telling you that. It's a book about an institution - the Navy - by an insider of that same body. Although it was written almost 10 years before I read it, it could be set last month, last week, or tomorrow. Perfectly captures the essence of balancing political rings with the reality of military action. Just enough technical details thrown in to make the story feel real, without overwhelming the reader by making it too hard to understand. The characters are fantastically developed and the author shows his total grasp on the subject matter with every word he writes. My only rebuke is that although the reporter is a necessary evil to include - the ability of reporters overseas to make more complex already tough situations is well known - an element of romance need not be included. Stick to the intrigue...anything beyond closed doors can also stay off the pages. All in all, a must read for anyone who likes either political or military intrigue!

If you have read or are planning to read this book, please make sure to stop back by and leave me a comment to let me know your own thoughts!

From my library to yours,