Power Surge is a thriller showcasing the convoluted politics in Washington, where the rich and powerful have a disproportionate influence on the government. If something hurts their profits, they try to quash it and if it will help, they will bribe and threaten to get their way.
Our protagonist Jake arrives in Washington D.C. as the science adviser to Tomlinson, a freshman Senator from Montana. Both Jake and Senator Tomlinson want to propose a comprehensive energy plan for the country. Tomlinson knows it would look good on his record but Jake truly sees a need and a possible way to do it.
Unfortunately for both of them, just by trying to do this, they are perceived as stepping on a lot of toes. And big oil and coal have a lot to say. The big problem is that the big powerful companies tend to like to keep the status quo – on everything – to ensure that there are no surprises and that the profits keep rolling in.
Jake happens to get a secret mentor willing to help him navigate the quagmire that is D.C. This mentor keeps Jake from making any unrecoverable mistakes and advises him on some key issues important to his bill. Jake thinks his mentor is a little paranoid about their clandestine style meetings until his mentor gets ‘promoted’ to a position in Ohio after being in his job for 20+ years. It smells a little fishy.
Meanwhile, Jake is working on making his plan as useful, palatable and accurate as possible so it can truly make a difference in how the U.S. produces its energy. Along the way he finds out that politics in the big city are more dangerous than back room deals to get one blackballed. When you have a chance to make real change where powerful people don’t want any, they might go to great lengths to prevent it from coming about.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit–it had its good guys and its bad guys and those who really just cared more about staying in power than anything else. I will definitely try another one of Ben Bova’s book in the future.
Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tor Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.