Christopher Buckley is one of my favorite authors. But this is not one of my favorite of his books.
Buckley’s books follow a similar path. Washington insiders, in a cynical, but somewhat believable way push a line that seems absurd, but much of the time you could actually see things working out in real life like they do in his books. It is satire. What makes Buckley one of my favorite authors is that he ridicules all sides of the political spectrum, he keeps his books funny and in the end his heroes usually see the error in their ways.
But this book is not as funny as most of his other books. It is satire, and you can see him poking fun at lobbyists, at the defense industry, at the media. But it is not sharp, it is not very funny and it feels phoned in.
What I am most disappointed in is that I do not really like most of the characters. In many of his others books, the characters, even when they do reprehensible things are still people that you want to root for. The reader wants these people to turn out well. In this book, I would be fine if all of these people had a big accident and disappeared. The only likable people in the book are the Chinese President, his aid and the head of the NSA. And none off them are really the main characters, so 85% of the book I am reading about people that I really don’t care about.