THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 384, September 10, 2006
"In my book, I'm number one."
Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista by Matthew Bracken
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista is the sequel to Bracken's well received Enemies Foreign and Domestic (though The Reconquista can stand alone, Bracken suggests and I agree that the first book offers an important foundation to the events in the second). The first book was good enough that I was anxious for the sequel; after waiting two years, I'm delighted to say that The Reconquista was worth the wait.
Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista begins almost exactly five years after the conclusion of Enemies Foreign and Domestic. Ranya Bardiwell is back in the United States, but the country is one she can barely recognize.
Secret work camps have been established in various parts of the country where political dissidents are imprisoned and must endure forced labor. An out-of-control national debt in combination with such sky high expenses as entitlement programs and the War on Terror have resulted in rampant inflationand the actions taken by the Federal Reserve to temper the problem have only made it worse. Cameras, spies, and domestic surveillance are everywhere. And the politically correct treatment of illegal aliens in the recent past has resulted in an effective takeover of the US southwest by Mexican and other south-of-the-border nationals.
Ranya doesn't care about these things other than as the obstacles they represent in pursuit of her primary goal: she wants her son back. The child, who was taken from her as an infant, has been adopted by government agents who live in New Mexico. Alexander Garabanda is an FBI agent, and his wife Karin works for the IRS. Together, they've been raising Brian as their own at least until Karin leaves Alex for another IRS agent. But even as Karin works to take Brian from Alex in the throes of a vicious divorce, Ranya begins her trek to New Mexico where she fully intends to recover her son or die in the attempt.
Everything is complicated, of course, by government surveillance and a determination by the authorities to silence any who might know more than they should about the deep-seated corruption that reaches the highest places. Even worse for Alex and Ranya, though, is the fact that New Mexico is effectively under control of the Mexican milicia which has made the American authorities titular at best. Danger abounds for any who don't subscribe to the goals of the so-called Reconquista and aren't the most militant of socialists, and it's only a matter of time until Alex and Ranya both get caught up in circumstances well beyond their individual control.
Meanwhile, treason and betrayals of causes large and small abound, and the viciousness of those who would gain and hold control knows virtually no bounds. Former ATF agent Bob Bullard is back and, holding true to the Peter Principle, has been promoted to the level of serious incompetence. But even he's making plans to escape the inevitable when what used to be the United States of America is parceled and distributed to those whose demands will be met in the name of expedience and entitlement.
When survival of the very Republic is in question, how can one woman rescue her son from the powers that be on either side of the political divide? Will Alex remain true to his oath to uphold the Constitution, or will the system chew him up and spit him out if he refuses to go along with the new status quo? Most important of all, will freedom survive? Or will those who believe the promises of anyone in authority help them, either actively or via their inaction, to effectively enslave the civilian population once and for all?
I really liked Enemies Foreign and Domestic. I thought it was well written, especially for a first novel, and rang entirely true to reality albeit a reality I wasn't keen on facing. But if anything, Matthew Bracken's writing abilities have improved in this second effort, and that's saying something; far more important, his virtual prescience concerning illegal immigration and its inevitable effect if it's not brought under control is terrifyingly realistic. That's just background, though, despite the framework being integral to the action.
Bracken's primary focus is on the main characters, and those characters are well realized enough that I ached for Ranya; was angry for and with Alex; and even empathized with a little boy who just wanted to know where his Daddy was. While a couple of the characters were just a little stereotypical (a certain judge and one IRS agent among them) in both their described appearances and their rhetoricthe point, I think, could have been made a little less vehemently), on the whole, Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista is a must read for those who would like to see our country survive intact and including its freedoms past this generation.
The side plots almost don't deserve to be relegated to the side. They're important, too, from the machinations of high-placed federal officials to the nauseating sycophants who side with those they believe will, by hook or by crook, win the battle for the southwestern US. It's telling that Bracken, who formerly resided in San Diego, has only recently relocated elsewhere. It's clear that he believes at least some of what he's written, and he's done a good enough job in the creation of this near-future scenario that I do, too.
Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista is available online at http://www.enemiesforeignanddomestic.com.
[Or from Amazon.com via TLE (we get a bit of money of you do it that way)Editor]