Matthew Bracken's latest novel is a brave book. It's brave because it's a sequel, and expectations from a readership that embraced his first book, Enemies Foreign And Domestic, are high. It's brave because he believes in the grand purpose of the right to bear arms, and that runs against the mindset of mainstream publishers. And it's brave because Bracken makes a harsh prediction of where this country is headed should the unchecked flow of illegal immigration not be halted and reversed.
That the protagonist is a female of part Arab descent, and that she is joined in her quest by Americans from all heritages, will not matter to those who usurp the banner of diversity to promote intolerance of dissent. And those will be many if sales show DETR is being widely read.
And it should be widely read, because the potential for events to unfold as described seems inevitable based on current trends. Bracken nails the probability of near future disintigration of the Republic with terrifying prescience. In his words:
"Reconquista begins five years after the end of EFAD, with a leading character from the first book in a detention camp for suspected terrorists ... this allows the reader to experience a significant deterioration of the state of freedom in American. The plot takes that character on a journey across the Southwest, which is then in the opening stages of a low-intensity civil war."
Bracken's latest page-turner takes us down dark paths. Their twists fill us with dread. But through this he manages to instill hope -- in his characters and his readers -- that if we can summon up the courage to say, "No more!" and to act, we can once more win back the right to consider ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave. --David Codrea, GUNS Magazine, February 2007
John Ross, author of Unintended Consequences
I ve long felt that one of the most difficult tasks for a novelist to pull off is creating the willing suspension of disbelief in the mind of the reader. It is for this reason that, with very few exceptions, the genre of Science Fiction leaves me cold. Almost always, I find myself feeling that the author is just spewing out an endless stream of whatever made-up nonsense came into his mind.
The exception to this is when the story asks its audience to accept a single impossibility (or near-impossibility) as fact, and the writer then weaves a What if? tale in which all the characters behave logically and consistently in the face of the one anomaly: What if a man somehow became invisible? (This has been done successfully several times.) What if a twelve-year-old boy found himself in a thirty-year-old body? (The movie Big, with Tom Hanks.) What if the South Africans developed a time machine that could take them and their equipment back to a date in the middle of the Civil War, but no earlier? (Harry Turtledove s Guns of the South.) Stephen King, of course, is the master of making his readers fall into a story with a central premise that is impossible.
Writers of political novels have considerably less leeway in what they can reasonably ask their readers to accept as a given. Political novels can t ask us to believe something we think is impossible. The further they stray from existing conditions, the more likely the reader (this one, at least) will be unable to accept the imagined situation that the author lays out. In one infamous, racist (and excruciatingly boring) novel, the author gave us an America where, for racial reasons, rape was no longer a crime. Yeah, right.
Domestic Enemies: the Reconquista doesn t just ask us to accept that Hispanics want to retake the Southwest. It asks us to accept that in a few years they will have nearly completely achieved this goal. In Domestic Enemies, we are shown a New Mexico with a milicia to enforce existing fictional Spanish only and land reform laws. Storefronts with signs printed in English are regularly razed, and large estates owned by gringos are seized and turned over to formerly illegal aliens. All of this is done with official state sanction. Citizens in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona regularly abandon their homes and take only what they can carry in their vehicles to the free states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Got the picture?
Domestic Enemies asks us to assume an America circa 2011 that has secret detention camps for ordinary citizens, an America with hyperinflation (gold $7000/ounce, gasoline $30/gallon), an America that has replaced the old paper currency with new blue bucks at a 1-for-10 exchange rate, an America where lawlessness in the big cities and political corruption everywhere exceeds anything seen in real third-world hellholes in 2006. Is this too much to swallow? You be the judge.
The action in Domestic Enemies is exciting, and as plausible as you will find in works of fiction. The technical details, at least the ones where I have any expertise, are dead on. The question remains: Is the America of a few years hence portrayed in Domestic Enemies believable? This book addresses in fictional form a serious problem deserving of our attention: the problem of illegal immigration, anchor babies, and the long-term effects of a massive influx of people to our country who have no interest in adopting America s culture of individualism. My fear is that the nightmare conditions Bracken asks us to imagine for 2011 America are so far from what we have now, that mainstream readers (and reviewers) will dismiss his book as delusional ranting. That would be a grave error. --John Ross, The High Road, August 30, 2006
About the Author
Matthew Bracken was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957, and he graduated from the University of Virginia and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in 1979. He is married, has two children and lives in Florida. He is also the author of Enemies Foreign And Domestic, and Foreign Enemies And Traitors, the first and final novels in the Enemies trilogy.