'Republic: A Novel of America's Future' weighs the US Administration against the Constitution; the States against the Federal Government; the local police against the Department of Homeland Security; the National Guard against the US Army; Washington against West Virginia. The author asks which of them represents the 'real' America? And to which does the American citizen owe their loyalty? The answers may lead to a second US Civil War.
The story revolves around Ken Murphy, an Iraqi war vet, a Colonel in the West Virginia National Guard, plant manager, and respected family man, whose life is destroyed by events beyond his control. Woven within the tale, as a counterpoint to Murphy, is the life of Mike Morris, a young Army Captain, father, and unhappily married man, who unconsciously wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone around him.
The two mens lives are irrevocably changed when a small West Virginia town is left reeling from the deaths of five innocent people; the deaths being the tragic end to a series of events: a factory closure, an employee plant takeover, and the political reach of corporate power in Washington.
The book is difficult to categorize; futuristic but grounded in the real dichotomies of today's America it presents a plausible vision of America's tomorrow. It brings to mind Daphne du Maurier's 'Rule Britannia' but it's realism is starker given the current war on terror, foreclosure mess, labor demonstrations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan; and the State and Federal budget woes.
The story is thoughtfully told; the main characters well drawn; the flow steady if occasionally weighed down by descriptive detail. Overall, an original and thought provoking tale.