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"The Jericho Sanction" – Book Review

  • Jim Cumbee Book Reviewer
  • 2003 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
"The Jericho Sanction" – Book Review

Author:     Oliver North with Joe Musser
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers

Fiction and the headlines collide when Peter Newman saves the world and gets the girl, in Oliver North’s newest novel, "The Jericho Sanction."  Retired Marine Colonel -- turned stiff-backed Senate witness, turned radio show host, turned embedded report, turned author -- Oliver North pens an exciting and highly readable tale of courage, faith and international intrigue all set within the milieu of today’s Middle East politics. 

Our hero Peter Newman re-appears in this new book three years after escaping the bad guys in "Mission Compromised."  He, his wife Rachel and their newborn son are enjoying a quiet life of service at a hospice in Jerusalem.  They live under an alias because the bad guys from "Mission Compromised" still want him dead.  Adding to Newman’s problems, an FBI agent back in Washington can track his every move and has no compunction to sell information for a shiny piece of jewelry.
We’re not long into "The Jericho Sanction" before Newman is confronted with a moral dilemma to choose between saving the world or saving his wife.  The really bad guys stole three nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union and have a plan to sell them to other really bad guys in Iraq who have plans to use them against Israel.  But nothing slips by Israel, and as soon as they find out what’s going on, they have their nuclear weapons pointed toward Iraq in a “preemptive defensive” response.  Inside the Israeli government, this plan, is called the Jericho Sanction, hence the book title.  One man stands between this convergence of mushroom cloud chaos, and that’s our God-fearing hero, Peter Newman. 

Fiction and the headlines also collide because at times it’s hard to tell when Newman is being his genuine good guy self, versus when he personifies the truth-telling, consequences-be-ignored stiff back Marine Colonel who penned the book.  Is Newman a North wannabe, or has North created Newman to represent how he wants to be remembered?  An intriguing question to be sure, but this book has enough intrigue already. 

North and his co-writer Joe Musser, do a fabulous job of weaving together a complex but amazingly understandable tale.  They do not obfuscate the storyline with Clancey-esqe details requiring an MIT degree to understand, but the story does offer a fast-paced look into the cat and mouse game of international diplomacy and the age-old tale of selfish ambition gone awry. 

Although it’s a hefty 553-page read, the story has enough twists and turns to keep you focused.  Readers will come away with a sense of relief after a conclusion every bit as daring as North might have us believe was his role in Iran Contra -- although it is terrifying to realize we actually could come this close to self-induced Armageddon.

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