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Number 567, April 25, 2010

Authoritarian sycophants in the lamestream media

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Foreign Enemies and Traitors
A Book Review
by Sean Gangol

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Ever since I read his first novel in 2003, I have been a long time fan of Mathew Bracken's work. In his first book, Enemies Foreign and Domestic he showed us how easy the Second Amendment can find itself gutted from the Constitution and how quickly the rest of our liberties could follow. In his second installment Bracken expressed his fears of illegal immigration and what it may cost America if it is left untamed. In his last installment Bracken shows us the dangers that we may be facing during the age of Obama.

Bracken's storytelling ability seems to have improved with each book. As much as I enjoyed the first novel, the ending seemed a little empty and hollow. The story in the second book was even better. There are some who would say that Bracken's fear of illegal immigration is overblown and the scenario of radical Latino groups being able to take back the Southwest is farfetched. Whatever the truth may be, it does make for good fiction.

The last book in the trilogy picks up three years after the events of Domestic Enemies, which ended with the government holding an illegal convention to amend the Constitution to include the redistribution of wealth and to shred what was left of the Second Amendment. America finally gets turned into the socialist paradise that statists could only dream about.

America is now divided into different sectors. Most of the Southwest has been taken over by illegal aliens, while the Southern states are under Martial Law due to a break down of order. In the Northwest there are a few states that are resisting the newly acquired powers of the federal government. They are referred to as the "Free States."

The conflict of the story centers on the state of Tennessee, which sustained the most damage from a pair of earthquakes. During the aftermath, the federal government offered relief on the condition that the inhabitants give up their guns and their independence. The people refused and a rebellion ensued. The government responded by using international mercenaries to squash the rebellion and clear out the inhabitants.

The main protagonist of the novel is Phil Carson, one of the characters of the first book that was absent during the events of Domestic Enemies. During the events of the last book, Carson was at sea smuggling contraband from island to island. After getting caught in a storm he finds himself in an America that he no longer recognizes. Carson later meets up with what is left of the resistance in Tennessee, along with a teenage girl who narrowly escaped a genocidal campaign carried out by foreign mercenaries. He also teams up with a teenage boy who is the last surviving member of a family that had gone into hiding.

In Foreign Enemies and Traitors, Bracken seems to hit close to home. The main antagonist is Jamal Tambor; a black president who bears an obvious likeness to our current president. Tambor was the one who ordered the genocidal campaign against the people of Tennessee. Another real life reflection was the use of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." The government uses this doctrine to silence all opposition and dissent among the people. Even the internet is tightly controlled.

It also seems likely that the government would use a natural disaster, like the two catastrophic earthquakes in the novel to obtain more power over the populace. It is even probable that the government would use racism as a propaganda device to turn the public against a certain group of people like Tambor did with the people of Tennessee.

Throughout the book Brackens gives us characters that are both believable and likeable as he has done in his previous novels. As usual Bracken gives us his typical page turning suspense. However, the book did have a few disappointments. One of them was the absence of Ranya, who was one of the main protagonists from the first two novels. She made a brief appearance at the beginning and the end of the novel. Ranya was a likeable character from the very beginning. She was strong and independent, while having enough flaws to make her believable. Her character was easy to sympathize with since she had lost both her father and her lover in the first novel and would later find herself losing her son while being imprisoned. One has to respect the hell that she had to go through to get her son back. That is why it seemed a little disheartening that Bracken chose to keep her out of the book almost completely. No, offense to Matthew Bracken, but you can't just blow off a major character for the sake of convenience.

Another disappointment was the ending. Even though the basic conflict of the story has been resolved, Bracken leaves us with the impression that America will always remain divided. Not the most satisfying ending, but it's probably the most realistic. I would have preferred a George Lucas style ending to the trilogy, where everybody is rejoicing in the defeat of an evil dictatorship. For the sake of realism, this is probably the best ending that Bracken could have given us.

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