In a future where tyranny has eroded our personal freedoms, the United States is no longer the country we cherish. People are rounded up and forced to live in communal compounds, stripped of their possessions and strict population control is practiced to ensure that people aren’t using more resources than they should. Citizens have to walk on treadmills to generate energy for the Authority, and transportation is limited to bicycles and rickshaws. Every member of the Republic has to pledge alleigence to the environment and the old, sick and rebellious are taken away and never heard from again. It’s into this world that Emmeline is born and she spends the first 18 years of her life as a dutiful citizen. Then her father and mate disappear, her mother is arrested, and her daughter is taken by the state to be raised in the Children’s Village. Emmeline begins to learn about America’s past, the “before time.” and the more she learns about freedom, the more rebellious she becomes. She soon makes a plan to escape and start a new life with the “shadow people” – those who refused to be held prisoner by the government and who live in the wild beyond the compound’s fences.
This is a good story, and I find the facts behind the U.N’s actual Agenda 21 more than a bit disturbing. What irritates the hell out of me about this book is that, as far as I can tell, Glenn Beck really had nothing to do with it. Harriet Parke wrote the story, perhaps with some of Beck’s input about the political ramifications of Agenda 21, and he wrote the afterward, explaining how this real life non binding resolution could someday lead to something similar to the fictional world of the novel. That’s it. But the way the book cover looks, if you avoided it because you thought it was nothing more than Beck’s usual drivel, I wouldn’t blame you. I was hesitant to read it for that reason. I’m pretty sure that slapping his name on the cover and using it to advertise the novel was the only way Ms. Parke could get published by a traditional publisher, as it’s her debut novel, but the story is good on its own without having to use the name of a famous conservative politico to sell it. The ending is open for a sequel, and I could see that setup coming a few chapters before the end, but I want to know how Emmeline’s story ends. Does she reach the Shadow People? Do they succeed in restoring America to its former glory? I want to know the answers, but I hope that next time Ms. Parke doesn’t rely on such a cheap gimmick to sell an otherwise good story.
From a strictly story standpoint, I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars, but given the cheap gimmick I can really only give it 2 out of 5 stars.