Regular price: $35.93

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

President Kerry Kilcannon and his fiancie, television journalist Lara Costello, have at last decided to marry. But their wedding is followed by a massacre of innocents in a lethal burst of gunfire, challenging their marriage and his presidency in ways so shattering and indelibly personal that Kilcannon vows to eradicate gun violence and crush the most powerful lobby in Washington - the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA).

Allied with the President's most determined rival, the resourceful and relentless Senate Majority Leader Frank Fasano, the SSA declares all-out war on Kerry Kilcannon, deploying its arsenal of money, intimidation and secret dealings to eviscerate Kilcannon's crusade and, it hopes, destroy his presidency. This ignites a high-stakes game of politics and legal maneuvering in the Senate, the courtroom, and across the country, which the charismatic but untested young President is determined to win at any cost. But in the incendiary clash over gun violence and gun rights, the cost to both Kilcannons may be even higher than he imagined.

And others in the crossfire may also pay the price: the idealistic lawyer who has taken on the gun industry; the embattled CEO of America's leading gun maker; the war-hero senator caught between conflicting ambitions; the female senator whose career is at risk; and the grief-stricken young woman fighting to emerge from the shadow of her sister, the First Lady.

The insidious ways money corrodes democracy and corrupts elected officials...the visceral debate between gun-rights and gun-control advocates...the bitter legal conflict between gun companies and the victims of gun violence...a ratings-driven media that both manipulates and is manipulated...Richard North Patterson weaves these engrossing themes into an epic novel that moves us with its force, passion and authority.

©2003 Richard North Patterson; (P)2003 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Gun control and tort reform are the thorny issues tackled in this political drama." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 3.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Janet
  • Grants Pass, OR, United States
  • 02-10-04

Balance of Power

I should have listened . . . Because I have enjoyed previous books by this author, I purchased it even though the reviews weren't overly positive. I should have listened to them! This book is not up to the author's usual standards. It's boring -- skip this one!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Same as the last book only not as good

I have listened to Richard North Patterson's other Kerry Kilcannon books and enjoyed them. I can't bring myself to listen to even the first half of this one. Really, I don't have high standards but a) his themes borrow SO heavily from his previous books that it is boring; and b)it also seems MUCH more melodramatic; --it may be the reader; I find her very annoying. Lastly, if you haven't read this series before; start with the earlier ones; at the beginning of this one he gives away the endings of the others.

78 of 84 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mary
  • Bainbridge Island, WA, United States
  • 11-17-03

Skip this book!

I have enjoyed other books by this author, but this one is intolerable. It drones on and on, never seems to end, and never gets very entertaining or exciting. I finally gave up on it. This is the first time I have ever done so with an Audible book!

46 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Balance of Power

Balance is what this novel lacked. All the action occurs early on and then everything slows to a tedious pace. This is a entirely predictible book and is filled with tedious chapters that can't hold your interest. Everyone seems to be a cariacture and I just didn't care what happened to any of them. This seemed to be less of a novel and instead a non-fiction work dealing with the issue of gun control and politics.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Political bludgeoning passing for entertainment

When one picks up a political novel, one expects to get a certain bias from the author. In "Balance of Power" however, the author uses his forum as a battle ground and proceeds to bludgeon the reader/listener with endless verbiage about why guns are wrong and abortion is all right. Regardless of ones stand on either of these issues, no one deserves this treatment. To make the whole thing even worse, the author's characters are so poorly fleshed out and the politics so raw and ugly, I found myself not caring a bit about what happened to any of them. Don't waste your money or your subscription on this trash.

63 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Tough to follow

The reader only had one note. Made it hard to keep up with who was who. The story also, while something I thought I ought to understand better, was way too long for my feeble brain. This is one I should have considered in the Abridged form.
The whole presentation became more of a text book than a story and I don't think all the blame can be put on the reader. It was about as riveting as .....uh.....Aw shucks I am even bored writing a review on it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Worst reading ever

I've been listening to and enjoying audio books for years and this is easily the worst job by a reader that I have ever encountered. It almost ruins an otherwise enjoyable story.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Balance of Power

The actor reading this book puts me to sleep. I have always enjoyed reading the books by this author. However, I have trouble staying awake when I listren to this recording since it is read in a monotone with little or no inflection. The book was ruined!!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jacob
  • Garrsion, ND, USA
  • 01-20-04

Get off the stump

Maybe it's because I'm a gun owner who has been to a gun show or two. Maybe it's because I don't share the views of the author. But I just can't find much nice to say about this book. The one thing I could come up with is to say that the workings of congress described in the book were intriguing. A political hatchet job laced with stereotypes but intriguing. People on the left will probably love this book. Those on the right will probably hate it. I would not buy this book if I had to do it over again.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Arthur B
  • San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 03-14-08

Misleading Title

The book started fine but I could only take the first 6 hours (of 22) before I gave it up. The whole storyline(?) appears to be nothing more than a continuous monotonous rant about gun control. If I want that I can just listen to any liberal politician during the election year. I'm from a western state where the definition of "gun control" is being able to hit what you're shooting at. I'm sorry I wasted a credit to get the book. I'm very happy that I didn't pay the listed price for it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful