The Enemies List: review of Foreign Enemies And Traitors by David Codrea GUNS Magazine, June 2010 I have a rule I tell every author who sends me a book to review: I only write good ones. If I don't care for it, I'll decline to say anything. I figure it's not my place to crush someone else's labor of love. So I ventured into Matthew Bracken's latest offering, Foreign Enemies and Traitors, with a bit of trepidation. After all, I'd written reviews in this magazine for the two prior volumes in his trilogy, Enemies Foreign and Domestic (Nov. 2005) and Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista (Feb. 2007). I called the former a thrilling first novel, one that engages, grips and doesn't let up, and the latter a brave book [that] nails the probability of near-future disintegration of the Republic with terrifying prescience. And then there was Matt's handwritten note to me on the cover page of his latest: This is my best effort, it's all I can give. I hope it makes a difference. What if I didn't care for it? What if I was let down because it couldn't match the expectations the first two books instilled in me? No worries. This is the best of the bunch, and that's saying a lot. As always, Bracken writes a page-turner involving main characters you care about deeply or hate to their evil cores. This third volume is mainly Phil Carson's story, the Viet Nam veteran we met as a major supporting character in the first two novels. A hurricane has shipwrecked him in Mississippi while smuggling cargo from Central America into a vastly different country than the one he was born into. It's the Greater Depression. Following massive earthquakes, the Deep South is under the military rule of a general who is an authority unto himself. The federal government is hopelessly corrupt, presided over by a charismatic subversive who has placed fellow Marxist travelers in key positions of great power. The Northeast and Midwest reflect his socialist centralized federal control. Tennessee has been in rebellion, and the president, anxious to subdue the insurrection so he can turn his attention to the resource-rich Free States of the Northwest, has brought in foreign mercenaries. But it's not my place to tell you Matt's story. I want you to watch it unfold for yourself. It reads like a movie. Bracken paints scenes with a master's touch, so you can see where his characters are. You can feel their emotions. And when it comes to technical details, explanations of weapons systems, military protocols, intelligence capabilities--nobody does it better. Still, it's not an easy book. The details require us to pay attention. And there's much ugliness: the degradation of some, the racism, the evil (and tell me Bob Bullard, the soulless, ambitious Director of Rural Pacification doesn't qualify as a great villain!). If you haven't read the first two novels, don't let that stop you from getting this one. It reads well as a standalone book, and I can't think of a better introduction and inducement to discover the earlier works. You've given enough, Mr. Bracken. Your best is superb. Well done, sir. --GUNS Magazine, June 2010
About the Author
Matt Bracken was born in 1957 in Baltimore Maryland, and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a degree in Russian Studies. He was commissioned as a Naval officer, and served on east coast SEAL teams during the 1980s as a Special Warfare officer, including leading a SEAL detachment to Beruit Lebanon in 1983. He is also the author of "Enemies Foreign And Domestic" and "Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista."