Chain of Command Summary (Magill's Literary Annual 1991-2005)

Peter Schweizer, Caspar Weinberger


(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Michael Delaney is a devoted Secret Service agent, but when the President of the United States is brutally gunned down, Delaney becomes the prime suspect and most hunted man in the country. Delaney appears on the crime scene after the President has been shot with Delaney's service weapon. Mystified at first, Delaney discovers that he had been drugged the evening before, his handgun stolen and replaced with a look-alike weapon.

A complex conspiracy is in place to make it seem as though Delaney is the inside shooter for a fringe terrorist group. The truth, though, is that the Vice-President has plotted the assassination because he believed his predecessor to be idealistic and misguided regarding national security issues.

Framed for a murder he did not commit, agent Delaney decides to go on the run until he can unravel the conspiracy and clear his name. A nationwide manhunt ensues as Delaney steals vehicles and supplies, changes his appearance, and is tortured for information by the real killers. His former lover Colonel Mary Campos, ironically placed in charge of the assassination investigation, is eventually convinced of Delaney's innocence. Through means of covert communication, Delaney and Campos enlist powerful government assistance to uncover the web of evil and deceit at the very pinnacle of American political power.

Chain of Command is a fairly-well plotted thriller complete with sinister thugs and shadowy government officials employing the latest in technological wizardry to accomplish their nefarious goals.