IMHO Submitted by Thomas T. Tinker.
A short review of “Founders, A novel of the coming collapse” by James Wesley, Rawles. © Simon & Schuster, Inc. ATRIA/Emily Bestler Books, 2012. 302 pages. This posting is not in fact, inferred or implied to be an entry into any contest, competition, or plea for attention.
I am a fan of speculative fiction. I am a fan of science fiction and history. I am a fan of any work that will give me a mind’s eye to an adventure .. real or imagined. Of all these, I am a fan of the ‘Techno Novel’ .. a work that provides a plot melted and blended with present day fact, proven history, and locations I can find ala Google map/sat. This is not to be confused with writers that use a laundry list of their favorite ‘stuff’ to flesh out, what would otherwise be, a fair read.
I have sat with all the time I honestly needed and read ‘Founders’ (3) three times. Once .. Because it was new and .. hell look who wrote it and I read the first two so geezo maybe the third is as good as the first but the second wasn’t and I had such high hopes JR would calm down and put some depth and width and literary meat into this one however … however no .. but am I demanding too much .. ? Hell yes. I put my first copy in the ‘recycle’ bin at a coffee shop in Bowling Green, Ohio (Grounds for Thought) for ‘used’ book credit. But I digress. Amazon sent me another copy and here we are .. again. I read it again … then again with notes, tabs and high lites.
“Dramatis Personae”, JR’s words not mine, are an ensemble of characters that have ‘appeared’ in his first two works, “Patriots and Survivors”, interlaced with a few new names and locations. JR catches us up on what happened to many of these early-er sub-plots in finer detail. The main plot line in “Founders” revolves around his two Chicago residents Terry and Ken Layton, their rookie boo boo of leaving town to late and jumping down the rabbit hole of the City of Chicago’s storm sewer system. Nice expansions with such characters such as E-4 Watanabe and others. Action prose on the Darwood farm .. and the missile fields ( it is so very nice to have a gunship when ya need one), and more, move the story around.
I’m sorry! Somewhere between sleeping it off in a pile of corn and the constant use of prepper trivia to salt the story .. “Founders” evolved into a travel loge of two souls that should have known better in the beginning and stumble from one patch of good luck to another. Good fun, but I never really got to respect the pair.
This work has some invaluable gems in it! JR leads his chapters with meaningful quotes of some of the finest minds of man. IMHO, the most profound is that of H.L. Menchen which heads Chapter 22, pg. 228, “Belly of the Beast”. In part “The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. … a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” The middle of this one is the real meat of it. … tease line.
“Founders” is at its best when accepted as a simple read. “Founders” is a good source of equipment lists and specs., counter Intel and OPSEC tips, amateur small unit tactics, and the prudent use of ‘Ironkey thumb drives’ (pg. 244). “Founders” is a good source of scripture and good Judeo & Christ like moral and ethic. JR is the author. JR owns the rights .. other than those sold to Simon & Schuster.
JR is an evangelical writer that forgets that his work will be read by the majority of preppers … that do not regard themselves any less Good or Evil that he. Now don’t get your prayer shawl or missile marker in a knot … This work is actually a good source of entertainment .. a good read. Born again reader .. or not, “Founders” may belong in the Scripture and Religion Section of Barns and Nobel if it were not a work of fiction. I’m not looking for the keys to the Kingdom … or the secrets of the Universe in this book… just good work. “Founders”… weighs in at a 3 on a scale of 10…. IMHO.
Tweaked a few emotions and egos there now haven’t I. Ok ‘Packers’, let the suggestions, comments, questions and calls for more wood and oil on the pyre commence. As always, your humble servant and blaspheme … On his way to the coffee shop in Bowling Green to recycle another tome.