A State of Disobedience
By Tom Kratman
A Baen Books Original
Baen Publishing Enterprises
First printing, December 2003
To read the first few chapters online just go to: http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200312/0743471709.htm?blurb
As a child I was an unapologetic fan of the Saturday afternoon matinee, swashbuckling adventure, rousing shoot em' ups, in short the sort of films boys like.
I unapologetically like Tom Kratman's first novel "A State of Disobedience" for many of the same reasons. The novel set in the near future is a tale of the next American revolution.
From the obligatory inside flyleaf: "It's time to remember the Alamo- Again! They feel our pain? Do they? 2060 in the so-called United States of America. A Body Politic transformed into a bloody state for partisan revenge and state-contolled terror. One President vying for dictatorial power. One mild manner governor determined to stop the madness, yet not sacrifice democracy in the process. Did they feel it when they roasted twenty-six of our children alive in a storm shelter? Did they feel it when they blasted us to bits with their gunship rockets and machine guns? Like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln before her, Juanita Seguin is a leader slow to anger. But, like them, once pushed to the limit, she is indomitable in her resolve- and relentless in the fight for freedom. Feel our pain? They will soon feel our rage! Welcome to the Second American Revolution. You're in for the fight for your life."
This is the sort of novel that will appeal more to conservatives and populists and less to doctrinaire libertarians as Kratman's work is decidedly pro-life. Yet I've seldom come across a work more pro-gun than this one and he understands and gives life to the notions of religious freedom and the first amendment.
Of particular satisfaction is Kratman's correct use of military nomenclature and detailed descriptions of the firearms being used, a departure from the usual Saturday afternoon matinee. I've read countless books and watched numerous movies where the suspense is ruined by inaccurate or implausible technology or jargon used incorrectly. Kratman who now works as an attorney has been an Army Infantryman for most of his adult life.
"A State of Disobedience" has various thinly veiled references of police state atrocities of recent vintage. Everything from the assault of the Branch Davidians in Waco to our government's inane reverence of political correctness is lampooned. The American President, Ms. Wilhelmina Rottemeyer bears an uncanny resemblance to Hillary Clinton which is not an accident or coincidence.
Central to the story and the catalyst that causes the revolution is the FBI's raid on a Catholic mission. The government had passed laws of "emotional terrorism" which were then used against those who protest abortion. The FBI's lead agent Musashi, is a reference to Ruby Ridge killer sniper Lon Horiuchi. Horiuchi if you remember was the FBI's hostage rescue sniper who shot the unarmed Vicki Weaver in the head while holding her infant child in the 1992 Ruby Ridge, Idaho standoff.
All in all I found "A State of Disobedience" a worthy first book, where the good guys win. If you want a fun romp, and your literary expectations are not too high, then I highly recommend this Saturday afternoon matinee read.