Condor and Falcon

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Title: Condor and Falcon
Author: John Simpson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary Political Thriller
Length: Novel (216 pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

One Sentence Review: A good end to the series about the first gay president

THE BLURB

President David Windsor’s former Secret Service agent, Shane Thompson, is now a permanent partner in his life, and David is determined to see Shane receive the respect he deserves as the First Gentleman. Assigned the codename “Falcon,” Shane will be taking on the traditional duties of the First Lady as David, codenamed “Condor One,” continues his administration.

But the tests of the Presidency are still looming as David faces both domestic and foreign political challenges. Just doing his job could mean extreme danger for himself and Shane, the man he loves most in the world—the man David wants to marry, despite all the press and attention it will bring them and the possible repercussions on a run for re-election.

THE REVIEW

Condor and Falcon is the final book in John Simpson’s series that centers on the first gay president David Windsor and his Secret-Service-agent-turned-lover Shane Thompson. I would not call this a stand-alone book; there is a very close timeline between the three books and the series really needs to be read in order to capture the relationship development and watch/understand the happenings around our heroes. There is a lot of mention and continuation of what David and Shane deal with on a daily basis, and as such, I think it’s possible that some readers may get confused or lost without reading the first two stories.

This story picks up a week after the end of the previous book, Talons of the Condor (reviewed here). Shane has just left the Secret Service so that he and David can have a real, open relationship — well as much as possible with one of them the President of the USA. Given the codename “Falcon” and the unofficial title “First Gentleman,” Shane begins to take care of special assignments, such as visiting and inspecting the progress of the rebuilding of Alcatraz and attacking the problem of America’s homeless teens, as well as taking over some duties the First Lady would normally oversee. In the meantime, the Saudis are trying to make amends for their involvement in the happenings of the previous two books, Iran is acting up, the Religious Right is on his back for so many things, the King of England is coming for a visit and as usual, death threats and assassination attempts are keep coming in spades. Oh, and he wants to get married. To Shane. While in the White House.

I admit that I’ve grown to like this author over time, and though not without some issues, I’ve come to look forward to new books released by him.  One reason is that I always seem to learn something. Not unlike some other authors (*coughbobbymichaelscough*), I generally know what I am going to get with him and accept it as a package. Simpson is known to pour into his stories not only his long and extensive background of award-winning service in security and protection, both at the local and national level, but also very strong political and social statements. They often include heavy lessons in social issues, politics and history, and this one is no exception. You always know where Simpson stands on an issue, and sometimes it can be a bit preachy (one of those things I’ve accepted about him).

Following the footprint of the last installment, there is quite a bit of emphasis on David and Shane’s relationship here. Marriage, adoption and wanting a normal life outside of the fishbowl that seems to consistently put them in danger all are themes, and it plays a key role in determining the outcome of the book and the series. Additionally, there is a good bit of storyline devoted to Shane’s new position in the White House as First Gentleman to be.  Regarding our heroes, I continue to like both of them, even if they are quite Gary-Sue-ish, a complaint of mine through the series.

There is just a touch less action in this book, which is slightly toned down from the first two stories. More time is spent on the day-to-day happenings of David’s position, doing some relaxing and entertaining, dealing with the continuing issues from the books one and two, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair share of international crises and danger for our heroes.

Two niggles:

Firstly, there is a scene where David goes and gets a ring to present to Shane when he pops the question, but once he retrieves it, it is not seen or mentioned again. I found that odd.

Secondly, I found two unusual editing errors for this author (he is usually — in this series of books at least — very good about attention to detail and lack of major errors): he refers once to “Fisherman’s Pier” in San Francisco (there isn’t an area called that; there are a series of piers referred to as “Fisherman’s Wharf”), and a corpsman changes from a Marine to Navy in a series of scenes.

OVERALL

Condor and Falcon follows well to the previous stories and completes the series perfectly. I recommend it and the series to those who like political intrigue and action in with their romance, but remember to read books one and two first.

7 thoughts on “Condor and Falcon

  1. valerie

    i just finished reading the story. I too enjoyed the entire series. The ring thing was strange to me also, almost as if that part of the story was written and then forgotten about.

    1. Aunt Lynn Post author

      Hi Valerie.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I even went back and both reread the scene again, then searched the PDF for the word “ring” (in case I missed it) and indeed, nothing more.

  2. Wave

    WOW Lynn! I must read this series now that it has been wrapped up and you have given it such a ringing endorsement. I love books about politics and this is right up my street. The First Gentleman and his role which is quite different from today’s First Ladies would be something I would find fascinating.

    I’m surprised about the errors you mentioned, especially the switch from Marine to Navy. With John Simpson’s attention to detail that is not something that would normally have escaped his eagle eye. Re fisherman’s Wharf – even I know that and I’ve only visited Cali once twenty years ago.

    Thanks for a wonderful review Lynn – you make me want to read Condor and Falcon right away.

    1. Aunt Lynn Post author

      Though not without its flaws, I did like the series overall. One of the things is his inclusion of little details that other authors wouldn’t use because they just don’t have his experience. Some readers might find this a little (or more) boring or tedious, but I found it fascinating. But, if you like books about politics, you’ll like these. Like I said, I always learn something by reading his books.

    2. John Simpson

      The navy issue is not an error, it is actually quite correct. As it was pointed out quite clearly to me prior to writing “Condor and Falcon,” the Marines do not have medics, at all. The Marines are part of the Department of the Navy and as such, the Naval Corpsmen serve the medical needs of the Marines. I received a few e-mails from Naval Corpsmen after “Talons,” and that was made quite plain to me.

      As to the ring, guilty as charged. Mea Culpa

      John

      1. Aunt Lynn Post author

        Hi John and thanks for taking time to visit and comment. I appreciate the clarification regarding the Navy vs Marine medic thing (see, another one of those things I learn from your writing!), though what what I was talking about was more of a continuity issue. Four Marines turn into three Marines and a Navy corpsman. I have emailed you more details and copy from the book, and maybe you can tell me if and where I missed something.

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