From a veteran author (The Black Sun, 1997, etc.), a near-future rant involving the Internet, drug laws, privacy, independence, governmental secrecy, corrupt politicos, and whatnot. When a letter bomb explodes, killing journalist Alden Kirk, his half-brother Clay Barstow vows to continue his work probing domestic terrorism, using McAdam County, Kentucky, as a paradigm. Contacted by the FBI and told that Alden reported to them, Clay agrees to do the same. He poses as a graduate student at McAdam College, but beautiful Professor Beth McAdam sees right through him, so he's obliged to take a job as an intern on the local paper. The McAdam clan owns or runs most everything, from Stuart, with his antigovernment militia, to Rob Roy's computer/encryption business. Then Lydia, Stuart's ex, calls Clay with information about Alden's murder, but when Clay arrives she's dead—with a knife in her chest. Accused of her slaying, Clay shelters with the sympathetic Beth and her father Colin. Meanwhile, the town's Citizen's Congress throws in with Stuart's swaggering militia when Rob Roy reveals he's invented a device to keep outsiders at bay. Clay is further accused of firebombing an abortion clinic and murdering its doctor. But then Rob Roy activates his shield, which prevents physical access, cuts off communications, and detonates explosives; Stuart declares an independent state. The US vows to crush it—but the army can't penetrate the shield. Clay is further accused of attempting to murder Colin (he was shot in the back). Finally, at a trial conducted by the militia, Stuart quite unbelievably confesses to shooting his father, and Lydia's real murderer emerges. Haven wins a limited victory against America. Energetic, but confused and contradictory.
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