When Barry Goldwater lost the 1968 election, a group of five wealthy ultraconservatives banded together with the purpose of 'forming a more perfect union' in their own image. The plan was when one of the Five died, another, equally 'worthy' would take his place...They would be the power behind the guise of democracy, of the 'land of the free'.
Travel with me now to 2035. The Founding Five is literally the most powerful covert entity on earth - they, through subtly guiding the right people in the right positions of power, have torn away most of the vestiges of modern civilization. It is frightening.
Ms. Muller has written a book that makes you think, fume, and feel surely this kind of corruption couldn't possibly happen in our country...or could it? An 'oh my gosh' ending puts this book over the top.
A great read, especially for those into political science - and interesting in this particular time of presidential primaries...will make you think...
4.0 out of 5 stars something for all persuasions,
Maud Muller has delivered a thoughtful book on what could happen to America if it slips further to the right. She bases this on a premise that back in 1964, after Barry Goldwater's defeat, five Republicans got together a figured out a way to rule America, regardless of who wins future elections: privatization.
If you're a conservative, you're gonna love the first six chapters. But you won't like the next couple: a liberal-slanted view on what happened to Clinton in the 90's. But you'll be back in full swing for a few more chapters after that, nodding along, as Muller sucks you into the vortex of moral decay and corruption.
On top of the political overtones, Muller tells a love story between a deeply spiritual Elizabeth Whalen and an undercover liberal Joshua Freeman. Whalen's spiteful marriage to the top-dog conservative Grables is Freeman's impetus to expose the Founding Five, and this triggers a wave of betrayal, murder, sacrifice, and redemption.
(Come to think of it, Whalen's and Freeman's story is a bit like Whittier's "Maud Muller" poem of what-might-have-been. Hmmm.)
And when it's all over, the reader will wonder if this could really happen. Some of the ideas are intriguing: the failure of social security and medicare leading to a national healthcare plan; the Patriot Act growing into a Weapons Control Act, backed by conservatives, banning all but hunting riles; and the nationalization of local/state law enforcement agencies into the Department of Homeland Security.
This book is fun for all: If you're a liberal, you'll find a happy ending and enjoy the buried zingers. If you're a conservative, you'll be tickled that Muller used the "Intelligent Design" argument to discover the conspiracy.
Muller's characters are full-figured and sympathetic, her descriptions are detailed, and her story is decently paced. A good start for Muller!
Custer, South Dakota
“More coffee, Aaron?”
Aaron Matthews held out his cup. “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Ruthie.”
The gray-haired woman behind the counter refilled the cup with a practiced hand. “How come a good-looking young man like you can’t find himself a wife to cook his breakfast? If I was twenty years younger, I swear I’d marry you myself.”
Matthews grinned. “What woman in her right mind is going to marry a guy without a job living in a two room cabin?”
“If that book you’re writing becomes a best seller women will be falling all over you.”
The man sitting on the next stool looked up from his bacon and eggs. “What’s your book about?”
“It’s the story of a handicapped boy who refuses to give up on his dream of becoming an astronaut.”
The stranger’s eyebrows arched in distain. A few minutes later, he finished his breakfast, paid the check and left.
“I’m guessing he won’t be buying my book,” Matthews said. “Who is he?”
“Never seen him before. Probably a tourist come to see Mount Rushmore.”
“Doesn’t look like a tourist. My guess is a hunter.” He drained the last of his coffee. “I’d better be on my way.”
“There’s a storm coming, Aaron. Make sure you’ve got plenty of food in that cabin. I don’t make house calls.”
“I’ll stop at Mac’s on my way out of town.”
Stepping outside, the icy wind hit him like a slap in the face. Matthews took the knit cap out of the pocket of his down vest and pulled down over his ears. After a quick stop for groceries, he headed west on Highway 16. The first snowflakes were swirling in the wind as he turned onto the dirt road leading to the cabin. Steering around the worst of the teeth-jarring ruts, he breathed a silent prayer the fifteen-year-old Jeep would hold up through the winter.
The snow was coming down in quarter-sized clusters. It took five trips to the massive woodpile beside the shed to fill the woodbin. He lit a fire in the fireplace, hung his vest on a hook by the door and put away the groceries.
Matthews had moved into his father’s hunting cabin in late summer nursing a severely damaged ego after he was fired from his job as a reporter at the Tampa Bay Sentinel. Rather than seek another job, he decided to write a book. He anticipated it would take him a couple months to kick out the novel that would launch his career as a bestselling author. Six months later, he was still in South Dakota, grinding away on a story without a title or plausible ending.
The warmth and crackling of the fire lifted his spirits. Logging on to his computer, he brought up the latest version of his manuscript. It was after ten when he decided to call it a night. Tossing his jeans and sweatshirt on the floor, he crawled into bed in his boxers. Within minutes, he was asleep.
* * * *
The man from the diner had been watching the cabin from a Humvee hidden among the pines. Exactly fifteen minutes after the lights went out, he put on a pair of night vision goggles and trudged through the knee-deep snow towards the cabin. Unsheathing his knife, he ran the blade between the edge of the door and jam lifting the latch. When it’s this fucking easy, it takes all the fun out of it.
Following the sound of snoring into the bedroom, he gently shook the sleeping man. When Matthew’s eyes opened, he ran his knife across his throat, severing the carotid artery and jugular. The assassin preferred killing his targets with their eyes open. Seeing the terror in them gave him a great deal of pleasure.
Stepping back to avoid the blood spurting from the wound, he watched Matthews die before setting to the task of ransacking the cabin. When he was finished, he surveyed the results of his labor, tucked Matthews’ computer under his arm and walked out the door whistling.