The Power Broker

by Stephen Frey

Over the course of the last several years, Christian Gillette has
evolved into one of contemporary fiction's most intriguing
protagonists. He heads Everest Capital, a wildly successful
investment firm that owns 30 different companies, 18 of which are
chaired by Gillette. He's a tough, brilliant negotiator who has his
eye on the bottom line. Stephen Frey, in order to keep his
character from seeming too amoral, has given him some soft areas
while keeping Gillette's surface appearance as a hard-nosed
businessman intact.

The danger with Gillette is that, at times, he has almost seemed
too smart, the result being that any financial battles he might
face would appear to have a preordained conclusion. In THE POWER
BROKER, Frey injects a brilliant stroke into the proceedings: bring
in somebody --- in this case, a few somebodies --- who is smarter
and more powerful than Gillette. The result is an intriguing and
fast-paced read.

At the commencement of the novel Gillette is facing adversaries
from all sides. He's having trouble getting licensed for a new
casino; he can't seem to sell an oil company that should have been
snapped right up; and, perhaps worst of all, the FTC is snooping
around one of his companies. Unbeknownst to Gillette, his troubles
stem from a single source: the Order, a shadowy group of nine men
who have brought their power and influence to bear in order to
change the course of history. Samuel Hewitt, the current master of
the Order, wants Gillette to become one of them, not only to infuse
new and younger blood into the group but also to complete a tie to
the group that Gillette has but does not know exists.

Complicating matters is that a presidential candidate, one opposed
by some members of the Order, is about to ask Gillette to run as
his vice-president. The Order wants to demonstrate its power and
influence to Gillette, and ups the pressure on him to bring him to
ground. Meanwhile, Gillette has no idea who to trust, as he finds
that both Allison Wallace --- hired by Gillette in Frey's 2005
novel THE PROTÉGÉ --- and Nigel Faraday --- Gillette's
friend and one of Everest's managing partners --- may be betraying
him. Accordingly, Gillette must commit a balancing act, trying to
keep Everest intact as it is beset from multiple sides while
deciding if he wants to enter the world of politics.

Frey keeps things moving rapidly throughout THE POWER BROKER,
though the multiple plates spin for almost too long. The end comes
all too quickly and seems a bit rushed, considering all of the
problems that Gillette has faced for the balance of the book.
However, Frey keeps enough issues open and unresolved that Gillette
will have plenty to deal with by the time the next installment in
the series is published.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 19, 2011

The Power Broker
by Stephen Frey

  • Publication Date: July 25, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345480600
  • ISBN-13: 9780345480606