Monday, March 14, 2005

A tale of the resistance

America is at that awkward stage,” Claire Wolfe wrote notoriously a few years ago. “It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

In The Black Arrow, newspaper columnist Vin Suprynowicz’s first novel, the year is 2031, and the time to shoot the bastards has finally come. A new U.S. war of secession is being fought, the West distancing itself from the ever-growing despotism of the East. But this “tale of the resistance” (the book’s subtitle) focuses on Gotham, an eastern metropolis where government atrocities are the norm: private daycare centers are raided by jackbooted agents, small businesses are seized without due process, families fall victim to both “freelance” and state criminals due to senseless gun-control laws. Worse yet, the War on Terror continues, but the “terrorists” are now solely the nation’s own citizens, harassed constantly by Homeland Security checkpoints at every corner and often gunned down when determined to be “uncooperative” by the Lightning Squads (aka the Grays).

In Gotham, and in the rest of the still-existing U.S., things are just plain shitty.

But from this muck arises the Black Arrow, a hero to lead a highly-trained group of freedom-fighters -- and, subsequently, the people -- in taking the nation back. Masked, dressed in black, and armed with a compound bow, he exterminates any and all who abuse power, including tax collectors, cops, prosecutors, federal judges, and other assorted politicos and bureaucrats.

How best to describe this compelling novel? Well, take Atlas Shrugged, then substitute the 60-page John Galt speech with digestible “sound bites,” add a dash of rock ‘n roll, plenty of sex, scores of commando raids, fierce samurai action, and lots of resistance strategy, and you’ve got The Black Arrow. At 700 pages, it’s a hefty book (not quite the Randian monster, though), but it never drags. It’s a quick read -- and one I’m sure I’ll return to several more times.

Tom Knapp recently described Suprynowicz’s novel as “The Scarlet Pimpernel on steroids and The Three Musketeers on a methamphetamine rampage to boot.” It’s that, and more. It’s certainly the best action novel I’ve read in several years. And it’s the best libertarian novel I’ve read since Vic Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier.

The Black Arrow, now available in a limited, signed edition, arrives in trade paper in late April. Buy it, for cryin’ out loud.


Post a Comment

<< Home