Baen, Dec 2003, 22.00, 314 pp.
By 2060, whether terrorism is real or used by politicians to control the masses, several laws including the Patriot and Victory Acts curtail individual rights for the collective security of the nation. The current President Wilhelmina Rottemeyer is establishing a dictatorship after “stealing” the election. Now she begins to use the military to further her attempts at consolidating control in a police state.
In Waco, Texas, the military assaults the Del Gloria Mission killing twenty-six children among others. Texas Governor Juanita Seguin is horrified at the wanton unnecessary death and destruction. She concludes that more is coming from DC unless leaders like her lead the fight back. The second war of independence has begun in Austin.
Though conceptually quite interesting and overall well written in spite of a bungee jumping plot, this cautionary tale simplifies the conservative vs. liberal debate in this country by making everything on the right acceptable and everything from the left evil. Thus the President apparently is that malevolent incarnate Hilary destroying freedom while the Governor seems like the Greatest American hero George saving democracy. Ignoring that the Patriot Act was passed by a right wing Republican controlled House, equal sided Senate and signed by a right wing Republican President, the novel does raise issues of security vs. freedom in an exciting thriller. Though the fear should be of both extremes (shocking but Ruby Ridge occurred during the Bush the senior administration), Tom Kratman makes a strong case in this gripping futuristic political military thriller for when is it acceptable to go beyond civil disobedience to outright revolt against the government.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner