This action-packed novel proves that dystopian thrillers aren’t just for tweens.
It’s the year 2020, two weeks after high-profile billionaire Sherman Gale’s suicide. Seven powerful men gather on Gale’s yacht, supervised by his beautiful, enigmatic daughter, Faith. Through a series of messages recorded by Gale before his demise, they learn that they have all been working with Gale on secret projects that will contribute to what Gale calls “The Plan.” After maneuvering Ralph Osborn, Gale’s preferred candidate for the presidency of the United States, into power, the seven financial, military, media and political leaders will commence Operation Fortress America. American military forces will be withdrawn from stations around the world only to surge through North and South America, lay claim to their land and citizens, and declare Christianity the official religion of the Americas. With the Internet nearly destroyed, a beloved presidential candidate assassinated, and Gale’s security forces—including millions of fanatical Christian Volunteer Corp. volunteers already rampaging across the country—stifling dissent, is there anyone who can stop Gale’s plan? Two renegade law enforcement agents hiding out might be the world’s only hope. Derrick Chu, a swaggering former FBI agent, and Audrey Kunitz, a CIA linguist, struggle to determine how to reboot the Internet, spread the word about Gale’s devious machinations, and prompt the American people to rise up against Gale’s cronies. Creative and current, Andison’s sequel to Death of the Republic (2011) is a quick, well-plotted read. Although the characters are thinly drawn types rather than authentic, quirky people, they do occasionally change allegiances in surprising ways, which keeps the reader interested. Sadly, the dialogue is not as engaging. Andison frequently includes long passages of unrealistic, unnecessary dialogue that slow the action without advancing the plot. And the action sequences are marred by derring-do that is more laughable than impressive. At one point, to get to a seemingly impenetrable building, a character is flung through the air “using only the force of large elastic bands pulled taught with a hand crank,” so that he can scale a wall wearing “a special jumpsuit made from a reflective gold, super friction-resistant fabric.”
An eerie vision of America’s future that deserves more complex characters and restrained prose.