"The new leaders would rule wisely and not let power corrupt them."

This is a vibrant, colorful thriller about United States politics and government. The book opens with a splashy legal setting replete with secrets, the Supreme Court, books on the law, and the constitution. Senator Temple is waiting for his stepbrother, who is a silver-haired, pony-tailed eccentric judge. The two men whip out a folder with the life story of a young woman and a chessboard. They begin to plot a marriage to save their corporation. With that, Perin has quickly and deftly established the tone of this long, rambling, and rambunctious novel.

Perin's ability to craft skillful dialogue and create a detailed atmosphere is obvious: "'The girl does present us with an extraordinary opportunity,' Godwin murmured. Through her and one of his grandsons, the Kingsleys, the Barronses, and the Sheppards would once again be allied against a common enemy. They would defeat the criminal emperor of the energy sector." Lilah, the young woman in question and the apex of the action, is the daughter of a recently deceased ambassador, which only thickens the plot further. And yet Perin adds another touch: the erstwhile heroine had just escaped from two thugs who had kidnapped her with a man with whom she had envisioned quite a different future.

A flirtation with the surreal via the supernatural seeps into the pages as well in a scene in which the author creates suspense and uses dialogue to not only develop his characters in surprising ways but also to bring in other-worldly elements: "'I saw my grandfather,' a Texas cowboy sobs. 'He's been dead for three years. I think I'm gonna die.'" Those who want a gripping read romping through the lives of some spellbinding characters will not be disappointed.

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