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Publisher's Summary

When an American cargo ship off the coast of Indonesia is seized by terrorists and its crew slaughtered, the sitting Congress demands revenge. The president's refusal to react aggressively leads to mounting resentment. Then an ambitious young congressional assistant, Jim Dillon, discovers a long-forgotten clause in America's Constitution that could be used to wrest power from the chief executive - inciting a devastating constitutional crisis and plunging the country into chaos.

Now, a battle group steams toward a fateful confrontation in the Java Sea, commissioned by Congress and opposed by the president. Dillon finds himself in the center of a firestorm that rages from the highest court in the land to the killing fields half a world away, as the great nation prepares for war - with itself.

©1998 James W. Huston; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Adams Morgan jumps enthusiastically into the fray, racing through the fast-moving text with exactly the right nuances of pacing and characterization. His various politicians and commandos are easily distinguishable but never overperformed." (AudioFile)
"If you like Tom Clancy, you'll love Balance of Power. Indeed, if you like Tom Clancy, Huston is a good step up." (Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Fantasitc story!

This is a great legal, political and action novel. Comes at you from many different directions and never fails to keep you guessing "what's next?". Huston's characters are strong and the story weaves an unexpected path. You'll also learn a thing or two about the history of our politics.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Felton
  • Emory, TX, United States
  • 01-27-10

Interesting Plot

This is one of the more unusual plots that I have listened to. Huston gets you involved early with the characters and they remain interesting throughout. The plot is quite unusual and almost borders on the ridiculous side. It gives you an uneasy feeling wondering if this could possibly happen in our government system. The narrator was not very good. He did not alter his voice for any character using the same monotone through out. This made conversations between male and female almost impossible to follow. I would avoid this narrator in any future book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Could have been better

Fun, although implausible, read. This book would have been much better with a different reader. Somewhat marginal dialog was made much worse by the stilted reading. I was about 10 hours into the book before I could ignore the reader's flaws and pay attention to the plot. I would like to read the sequel, but probably will buy the book rather than listen to it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Arlea
  • Hillsdale, MI, USA
  • 08-09-09


I have discovered a new author in Huston, and he takes you into the story so clearly that you feel like you are part of the action. This one takes top billing from me. I look forward to more. Great narration!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A true thriller.

What made the experience of listening to Balance of Power: A Novel the most enjoyable?

The action all around, from the political battlefield and the military.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Balance of Power: A Novel?

The speaker's press conference on the letters of mark.

What does Adams Morgan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narration, especially with accents.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Afraid I can't pick just one.

Any additional comments?

A must-have for any military or political thriller fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Balance of Credibility

This is an OK yarn if you accept that the scenario presented would never occur. No officer in command would ever make the decision one of the characters does. There are several character inter-reactions that make little, if any, contribution to the plot.

I would have graded the effort average if not for the reader, Adams Morgan. He is an abomination who speaks with the nose in the air articulation of an Elizabethan aristocrat. The result is that the character's voices have different pitches but the same phrasing and style. Avoid this Reader like the plague.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Narration makes it a difficult listen

I loved this book. Down side: I don't mean this personally, but I have listened to hundreds of books,and this narrator is the most annoying I have heard. He reads every line as though it were an article from the Rich Person's Social Register. The last two syllables of each line end with the exact same tones. He needs to listen to Patrick Tull or George Guidall and learn how to narrate a book, as opposed to merely reading it aloud.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • steven
  • phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 05-30-09

interesting premise that portends the future

very intersting and makes you think, especially with barry in office this seems a plausible scenario where the president will not act when action is required, the legal and political intrigue is very well done, are people acting in their best interest or the country's? and so forth

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • andrew
  • norfolk, VA, United States
  • 08-21-16

Narrator wanted!

What did you like best about Balance of Power: A Novel? What did you like least?

I'm about a third of the way through the book and I'm enjoying the story line, especially trying to figure out which characters are crucial and which are window-dressing. <br/><br/>I'm sorely tempted to put the book down because of the narrator. His accent is "old school pompous" and I find it irritating as Hell!

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The story line is plausible. Having been in the Navy as a member of the CAG 17 in the late 60's and early 70's I've noted some minor technical flaws, but they aren't relevant to the progress of the story.

What didn’t you like about Adams Morgan’s performance?

I'm sorely tempted to put the book down because of the narrator. His accent is "old school pompous" and I find it irritating as Hell!

Did Balance of Power: A Novel inspire you to do anything?

not really, unless considering putting the book down and returning it for a refund inspirational.

Any additional comments?

I will avoid this narrator in the future.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • cs
  • 05-25-16

Entertaining and makes you think about government

A very entertaining book. Really makes you think. Great and different storyline. Recommend to anyone who likes thinking.