In 2041, the United States goes to war with China in Hardy’s (The Place Where the Giant Fell, 2016, etc.) action-packed novel.
President Constance Higgins is in a quandary. After a socialist presidential administration, the country is $32 trillion in debt, so the government is forced to seek financial aid from foreign nations. China demands repayment of its debt in gold, but Higgins refuses. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence operatives intercept a strange transmission that mentions something called “Operation Dragon.” At a summit, China and other powerful nations inform Higgins that all the country’s debts will be cleared—if she gives them ownership of land in California that will enable them to take control of the world’s oil supply. Soon, further chaos and war erupts. Another plotline involves brothers Mike and Sean Dalton, the sons of President Higgins’ best friend, Maria. Mike puts Sean in the hospital in retaliation for upsetting his girlfriend, Kyla MacGregor, but then Sean escapes and disappears. Later, Kyla is drugged, raped, and impregnated by an intruder while Mike, a U.S. Army lieutenant, is away at war. As he fights for his own survival, he realizes that Sean’s whereabouts might be closer than he assumed. This novel effectively encapsulates the difficulty of wartime, both for those on the front line and for the decision-makers in the government. Specifically, Hardy depicts the emotional bonds between people in crisis; for example, President Higgins and Secretary of Defense John Mahood are shown to be able to work together, despite their differing opinions. However, some parts of the book espouse an anti-immigration philosophy, which some readers may find jarring: “illegal aliens living in the United States would remain loyal to Mexico....They were sucking the American economy dry of its treasure, usurping jobs, and sending the money back home.”
An intense, sometimes-disturbing story about a disastrous American future.