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.
Condor and Falcon is the third book in the Condor One series and the story picks up almost immediately where Talons of the Condor leaves off. President David Windsor and Shane Thompson have made their relationship public and, as the President’s life partner, Shane has quit the Secret Service to take on the White House duties of First Gentleman under the codename Falcon.
While the President is dealing with the aftermath of the highest incident of treason in American history, he continues to face challenges to his domestic and foreign policy initiatives and reforms, as well as to his open and public relationship with Shane from both within and without. As First Gentleman, Shane has taken on duties of his own and while some of these remain more traditional in nature, in keeping with the custom of previous First Spouses, many break new ground. Together David and Shane support each other in their public duties, and privately their relationship has greatly deepened as they contemplate marriage, adoption and a life together beyond the White House.
John Simpson continues to explore the “what if” possibilities of an openly gay President in the White House in this third, and likely final, installment in the series in much the same writing style as in the previous books. The story continues to be written in the first person point of view of the main character – David Windsor, providing an intimate view of life in the highest political office in the United States and the pace of the story remains frenetic as the author deftly captures the day-to-day realities of a sitting President. While there aren’t as many plot twists and turns as in the previous books, the political drama remains high with a few well-placed climatic events. And of all the books in the series thus far, Condor and Falcon is much more focused on the relationship between David and Shane with a most befitting ending to the story.
As one of the strongest elements of this story, the character of President Windsor continues to serve as a conduit through which the author explores creative policy alternatives and solutions to many timely domestic and foreign issues facing the United States such as, the environment and alternative energy, social issues, in particular gay rights, and the Middle East.
The difficulties I had with this book are similar to those I outlined in my reviews of the two previous books and relate to characterization, dialogue and the first person point of view. While the persona of President Windsor is well developed, I felt that characterization fell short in respect of David and Shane as men, and the dialogue between the two is, at times, forced and awkward. The first person point of view also presents some limitations in that the author tends to tell us rather than show us the story and sometimes gets marred in too much ancillary detail.
Despite these limitations, I enjoyed Condor and Falcon. Mr. Simpson’s vast and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the American political system and the sense of realism the author brings to the issues with which this story deals, coupled with the ability to write compelling political drama with intricate plots bring together the necessary ingredients for good political fiction. But what I enjoyed most in this book and indeed in the series as a whole is that the author has opened the door to and explores the possibilities and promise of a future where sexual orientation will play no determining role in American political leadership and life.
For those looking to read Condor and Falcon, it is not a standalone novel. In order to truly appreciate the potential of this not too distant America that the author has created, I strongly recommend reading the first two books in the series Condor One and Talons of the Condor in sequence of publication before embarking upon this one.
Condor and Falcon by John Simpson is available at Dreamspinner Press.
NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.