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Surrounded by Enemies: A Breakpoint Novel Paperback – November 3, 2015

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Editorial Reviews


“Plausible development, building from what we know about what really did go on, and a whacking good story…SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES delivers on both, big-time. So hold on to your hats, folks. You’re in for quite a ride.”―Harry Turtledove, alternative history author, HOW FEW REMAIN

"I have some experience with shattered timelines and altered realities but this one kept me guessing every page.”―Damon Lindelof, writer/producer of LOST, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

About the Author

Award-winning CNN correspondent-turned-screenwriter Bryce Zabel has created or developed five primetime network television series, including fan favorites Dark Skies, M.A.N.T.I.S., and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. Bryce has worked on a dozen TV writing staffs, been a feature writer in both live-action and animation, and has collaborated with both Steven Spielberg and Stan Lee. Bryce won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for the miniseries, Pandemic, and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for the original version of Surrounded by Enemies. He has received screenwriting credit on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Blackbeard, NBC’s primetime The Poseidon Adventure, Lois and Clark, and L.A. Law. Bryce was the first writer since Rod Serling elected to serve as Chairman/CEO of the Television Academy, the organization that awards the Emmys. He has also been an adjunct professor at both the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Marshall School of Business.
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Product Details

  • Series: Breakpoint (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Diversion Publishing (November 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626818290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626818293
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jerald Lazar on August 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Anyone who remembers that shocking day, 50 years this November, when President Kennedy was assassinated will be fascinated by this imaginative "alternate history" take on what might have happened if the bullets had missed and JFK had survived. Sure, we'd like to think that the Sixties would have been improved by the de-escalation of Vietnam, or the avoidance altogether of Watergate, not to mention the civil rights advances that JFK would have enacted. But in "Surrounded by Enemies," we are served a darker version of events, predicated on the notion that JFK and his attorney-general brother Bobby would have been obsessed with fighting back and seeking revenge against those who audaciously plotted to kill him, in broad daylight, on a public street, in front of a national TV audience.

For the past half century, books and films have debated whether JFK was the victim of a lone assassin or a far-reaching conspiracy. No matter what you believe, you will find novelist Bryce Zabel's perspective an intriguing fantasy of a Kennedy administration that never was but might have been. And it's not what you might expect, as the president's peccadilloes and darkest secrets, which have come to light over the past half-century, ultimately lead to his undoing.

You can tell that Zabel is an award-winning Hollywood producer and screenwriter, because, even with all the historical research he has put into creating this thriller, his novel's scenes have a cinematic flow and structure. These are not ossified wax-museum figures -- JFK and Jackie and Bobby, and all their family, friends, enemies, colleagues, and political associates literally come to life on these pages, with fast-paced action and dialog.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alternative history fascinates me, as it fascinates all novelists, because "What if" is the big thing.
(Kate Atkinson)

Yes, life is full of "What ifs." Some are of little consequence. Some are quite big. And some are very, very big - like the one posed by seasoned screenwriter and professional journalist Bryce Zabel in his latest book, "Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?"

This is heady stuff, indeed, and to be a successful writer of alternative history one must accomplish several things: Is the book Meticulously Researched? Is the storytelling Thought-Provoking? Plausible? Provocative? And a non-stop Page-Turner? The answer in this case is yes, yes, yes, yes and hell yes.

Zabel elects to cleverly present his vision by way of a commemorative retrospective by the journalists working on the staff of a fictitious newsmagazine. After all, it will be 50 years since the tragic events in Big D snuffed out the life of one of America's most beloved Presidents. Fifty years since the hopeful, optimistic days of Camelot. And five decades for the majority of Americans who still can't help but wonder what really transpired at Dealey Plaza and then, just a day or so later, at the Dallas Police Station.

Clearly President Kennedy had enemies, powerful enemies within the Secret Service, the FBI, the Pentagon, the Mob, the Federal Reserve, as well as Pro and Anti-Castro Factions, Texas Millionaires and, of course, the Vice President himself, Lyndon Baines Johnson. All had motive and means to remove JFK from office, whether it be, initially, by bullets, or, by resorting to exposing the scandalous, emotionally-charged dark secrets of the Kennedy administration to an unsuspecting and naive nation.
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Read "Surrounded by Enemies" but enjoy it for what it is: an intelligent, plausible work of fiction with a strong whiff of historical context. Like many of us, Mr. Zabel lived through the times depicted in the story, but unlike most of us he fully develops a fascinating narrative tied to this tantalizing notion: What if President Kennedy survived the assassination attempt in Dallas.

"Surrounded by Enemies" is honest enough to avoid sanctifying President Kennedy. Hardly a saint, he and Robert Kennedy are portrayed as only too human, possessed of less-elevated passions and a palpable desire for revenge. The strategies and events play out with a strong sense of verisimilitude. You can believe in events that could not happen.

That is the beauty of "Surrounded by Enemies." In many regards, it just feels right. A fictitious newsmagazine Zabel creates to relate this reimagined history brilliantly helps readers suspend any nagging disbelief. As a work of written art it stands apart from the shrill and paranoid that populate the genre of speculative literature.

Buy this book. Read "Surrounded by Enemies" and, like me, wonder: What if.
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I've read dozens of books about JFK, Including many about conspiracy theories surrounding his death. There are so many books in print that it would take a lifetime to read them all.

This one is different than all the others that I've read, in that it provides an alternate or parallel history on the events of 11/22/63 and beyond. The author does a fabulous job of intermixing both real and fictional events. The research behind this book is superb and the material is presented in such an expert manner that you'd be hard pressed to realize that you're reading a book of fiction.

The political climate of the sixties was fraught with tension. The Vietnam war was escalating, civil rights were in jeopardy and the world was in chaos. What would have happened to change the course of history had JFK lived? While no one knows the answer to this question, the author certainly spent a lot of time thinking about what might have been.

Kennedy had a lot of enemies and based on what we know now, was certainly not a faithful husband. This is mentioned throughout the book. Incorporating known facts, such as these with pure fiction makes for a very interesting read. The most amazing thing about this book is that it's very easy to find yourself forgetting what actually happened and replace those facts with the alternate history provided here.

Not only is it possible to imagine how things could have turned out differently, but the presentation in this book is so plausible as to make you feel as if they actually did. The author has created an all out believable portrayal of how the course of history would have changed had JFK lived. This is one of the best books that I've read about JFK and definitely the most unique. It's an important read for those who are interested in how different the world would be had JFK lived.
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