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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Audio Book Review: Flight of the Bowyer by Kenneth R. Lewis

This futuristic political thriller starts slowly but becomes gripping.
Flight of the Bowyer
Author: Kenneth R. Lewis
Narrator: Alex Hyde-White
Length 11.6 hrs • Unabridged 
Publisher/Date: AudioGO, 11/01/13
Genre: Political Thriller, Futuristic
My Rating: 4.5 0f 5.0


Summary
After six long years of political genocide carried out against the American people by the administration of President Benjamin Franklin Luder, the nation is stunned when Luder announces that he is issuing an executive order to suspend the next presidential election for “the good of the country,” giving him an unprecedented, and unconstitutional, third term as president. Luder has slowly and systematically robbed the citizens of various liberties and freedoms through similar acts, and in the process he has nearly destroyed the once-greatest country on earth. However, his environmental policy of “green communism” has done the most damage of all, resulting in a nationwide energy slowdown which has crippled every level of industry. It now costs the average American eleven dollars for every gallon of gasoline they put in their tanks, and in winter the elderly freeze like cordwood in their unheated homes because they cannot afford heating oil. (For full description link on title.)

Like any clever Svengali, Luder does not suffer from a lack of visionary delusions. Idaho’s unspoiled Sawtooth Mountain Range is rich in thorium, a much safer and cleaner alternative to the uranium currently used in the few nuclear power plants in the country that still exist. It is said that one thorium mine, located near the small mining town of Ransom, Idaho, contains enough energy to power every city in the United States for the next five hundred years. However, the mine is on private property and surrounded by federal lands.

Like any clever Svengali, Luder does not suffer from a lack of visionary delusions. Idaho’s unspoiled Sawtooth Mountain Range is rich in thorium, a much safer and cleaner alternative to the uranium currently used in the few nuclear power plants in the country that still exist. It is said that one thorium mine, located near the small mining town of Ransom, Idaho, contains enough energy to power every city in the United States for the next five hundred years. However, the mine is on private property and surrounded by federal lands.

Sean Brennan, a special agent with the newly formed United States Secret Police, sends Assistant US Attorney Haley Hendricks to Ransom, posing as an ecojournalist. Haley is assigned to find a way for the government to seize the thorium mine in the name of “national security,” and Brennan’s orders are to design a plan to get the president to the mine for a photo op and then safely back to the White House. Sean and Haley were once engaged, but after Haley was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sean broke things off. Since then Haley has dreamed of escaping, forever, the sewer called Washington, DC.

On her first afternoon in Ransom, Haley locates Jace Fuller, the man she has been directed to hire as a guide to the mine. From the first moment she lays eyes on him, Jace takes her breath away. But Haley soon learns that Jace’s wife, Annie, has been dead for several years now and that his eleven-year-old son, Josh, is for some reason being raised by his grandparents instead of Jace.

As Jace unwittingly prepares to lead the most powerful man in the world deep into the rugged Sawtooth Wilderness of Idaho, an unseen and sinister trap begins to unfold. Soon Jace will be forced to choose between saving his country and saving the life of his son, choosing who will live and who must die—including himself.
2013 by Kenneth R. Lewis


Review:
Jace Fuller is a lonely man struggling to make ends meet in a small, rather isolated Idaho town. He runs a bakery and bow shop during the week, waiting for Sundays when he gets to visit with his 11 year old son, Josh. Jace used to be a sheriff’s deputy but he lost his beloved wife to cancer and then went to prison for a reason that isn’t explained until later in the story. He can’t carry a gun but he is an expert archer and experienced guide.

Sean Brennan is a Special Agent in the USSP, United States Secret Police, which has replaced the FBI and Secret Service.  Sean is close to the current President, Benjamin Franklin Luder, a very unusual man.  Some might call the President “Looter” as he has decimated the country with excessive taxes, crippling policies, and executive decisions that trample liberty.  Luder is a supreme manipulator, playing one official and underling off another. Sean sometimes thinks the country would be better off with Luder dead but it is Sean’s duty to protect the maniacal leader. He plans to do that job in spite of the President’s own insistent plans to make an unprotected visit to a thorium mine in the rugged hills of Idaho, a place of rebellious freedom lovers. 

President Luder has convinced Sean to bring Sean’s old flame, Haley, on the trip to provide a cover story as a vacationing couple. Sean really wants a chance to reconnect with Haley because he regrets having left her a few years before when she went through a mastectomy for breast cancer.  They hope Haley can make connections with Jace Fuller to be their guide because Haley looks just like his deceased wife.

Haley has no clue why she is being sent to Idaho and isn’t thrilled with the orders when she gets them from Sean.  She stills struggles with her self image resulting from his abrupt abandonment. When she meets Jace there is an immediate chemical attraction for them both and she is impressed by the rugged, simple man.

Meanwhile a local vet, Wade, and two other unsavory soldier cohorts are roaming the hills on ATVs fully armed and looking for trouble. Wade is an old rival of Jace and gets in his face repeatedly. Jace has to be careful to control his temper and response so he doesn’t violate parole.

It takes a bit for the pieces of the plot to begin to fit but ultimately they do with excellent twists and curves all falling into place!  It was a very pleasant surprise to realize how all the details fit together. It is one of those twisters that might call for a second read/listen just to anticipate how it all falls together. I thought this started out a bit dry and plodding but once I could see the conspiracy puzzle taking shape I did not want to put it down. I also enjoyed the details about bows and archery. I was sorry when this ended and recommend it to political thriller fans who enjoy such plotlines from authors such as David Baldacci.  I will be glad to look for other thrillers by Kenneth Lewis.

Audio Notes: This began slowly but I soon appreciated the steady narration of Alex Hyde-White. He manages to present the different characters with subtle accents. The plotting was twisted but I never lost where we were or who was speaking through the audio. The good tension and suspense were conveyed and enhanced with the narration.

I received the download for review from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.

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