« August 20, 2012 |
| September 20, 2012 »
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Reading List: Foreign Enemies and Traitors
- Bracken, Matthew.
Foreign Enemies and Traitors.
Orange Park, FL: Steelcutter Publishing, 2009.
This is the third novel in the author's “Enemies”
trilogy, which began with
Enemies Foreign and Domestic
(December 2009), and continued with
(March 2012). Here, we pick up the story three years
after the conclusion of the second volume. Phil Carson, who
we last encountered escaping from the tottering U.S. on a sailboat
after his involvement in a low-intensity civil war in Virginia,
is returning to the ambiguously independent Republic of Texas,
smuggling contraband no longer available in the de-industrialised
and bankrupt former superpower, when he is caught in a freak
December hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and shipwrecked
on the coast of Mississippi.
This is not the America he left. The South is effectively under
martial law, administered by General Marcus Aurelius Mirabeau; east Texas
has declared its independence;
the Southwest has split off as Aztlan and secured autonomy in
the new Constitution; the East and upper Midwest remain under the
control of the ever more obviously socialist regime in Washington;
states in the inland northwest are the
last vestige of liberty. The former United States have not only
been devastated by economic collapse and civil strife
stemming from the attempt to ban and confiscate weapons, but
then ravaged by three disastrous hurricanes and two earthquakes
fault. It's as if God had turned his back on the United States of
America—say “no” to Him three times, and
that may happen.
Carson, a Vietnam special forces veteran,
uses his skills at survival, evasion, and escape, as well as
his native cunning, to escape (albeit very painfully) to
Tennessee, which is in the midst of a civil war. Residents,
rejecting attempts to disarm them (which would place them at
risk of annihilation at the hands of the “golden horde”
escaping devastated urban areas and ravaging everything in their
path), are now confronted with foreign mercenaries from such
exemplars of human rights and rule of law as Kazakhstan and
Nigeria, brought in because U.S. troops have been found too
squeamish when it come to firing on their compatriots:
Kazakhstani cavalry—not so much. (In the book, these
savages are referred to as “Kazaks”.
“Kazakhstani” is correct, but as an abbreviation
I think “Kazakh” [the name of their language] would
Carson, and the insurgents with whom he makes contact in
Tennessee, come across incontrovertible evidence of an
atrocity committed by Kazakhstani mercenaries, at the direction
of the highest levels of what remains of the U.S. government.
In a world with the media under the thumb of the regime and
the free Internet a thing of the past, getting this information
out requires the boldest of initiatives, and recruiting
not just career NCOs, the backbone of the military, but also
senior officers with the access to carry out the mission.
After finishing this book, you may lose some sleep pondering
the question, “At what point is a military coup the best
This is a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the “Enemies”
trilogy. Unlike the previous volumes, there are a number of lengthy
passages, usually couched as one character filling in another
about events of which they were unaware, which sketch the
back story. These are nowhere near as long as Galt's speech in
Atlas Shrugged (April 2010),
(which didn't bother me in the least—I thought it
brilliant all of the three times I've read it), but they do
ask the reader to kick back from the action and review how we
got here and what was happening offstage. Despite the effort
to make this book work as a stand-alone novel, I'd recommend
reading the trilogy in series—if you don't you'll miss the
interactions between the characters, how they came to be here,
and why the fate of the odious Bob Bullard is more than justified.
of this and the author's other novels are available online at the
author's Web site.