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  • The only thing needed for evil to prevail, is for

    If anything, this is a disturbing and frightening read. Some of the elements in this book come scarily close to things we see happening now and in the past. I must declare strongly that I do not think that the recent Covid-9 restrictions on travel or freedom of movement do not have anything to do with the restrictions that are mentioned in the book, and I do not think that it was the author’s intention to criticise those. If anything, those measures were too little, too late and released too soon. It would have been good if we could count on common sense and civil responsibility of the average citizens but unfortunately, reality proves that there’s little of that to be found (and not only in the USA). This story paints a bleak picture of America’s possible future. One that’s constructed from real circumstances and practices borrowed amongst others from Stalinist USSR, DDR’s Stasi, and North Korea’s Kim Yong-Un. Most frightening is that this prognosis for the future skirts the edges of reality in several places and is even plausible when taking into account the shenanigans from USA’s current president (he would love, to declare martial law) and the logical reasons given for the initial measures. The author describes a world that’s our own but as if it’s in a nightmare. It poses a number of very serious and difficult questions. How far would you have gone in the creating of this new America and how long would it take before people’s eyes would open up? And as you see what happens today, you can fool an awful lot of people for an awfully long time. It also contains a ‘hidden’ warning against the unlimited experiments with AI and similar technology/science that can unleash something that may soon spin out of control. Freedom and liberty mean different things to different people, but freedom of speech happens to be one of the most essential freedoms of our western civilisation. But this also includes that you can criticise those in government and those holding the popular/politically correct opinions. And I see that those last things are creeping into our daily life. Personally I don’t think that Americans will give up their sacred freedoms as easily as happened in the book, but given the right amount of severe calamities coinciding, you’ll never know. The main characters of this story belong to 2 privileged families. The Frome boys and Buchanan girls grew up in the shadow of the white house with fathers that were friends of the old president and they all believed strongly in the ideals of the Loyalist Party. But when Aaron Frome disappeared, he was assumed to have joined the rebels and the family fell from grace, they were interrogated (tortured) and the dad committed suicide eventually. Gideon joined the army and was sent to fight on the wall (yeah like Jon Snow) and now returned as a hero. He’s popular, what makes the president jealous and brings him a wicked idea. Kate Buchanan works for Homeland security and monitors the chatter on their internet and dutifully reports encrypted threats. In secret, she has built an AI machine that can predict the future better than humans. When 1 day her sister is mentioned in one of the alerts, the computer predicts a nuclear attack in 3 weeks time with an increasing possibility rate. She deletes the name from the report but the Secret Service disregards the alert. As this prediction machine is illegal, she can’t tell anyone about it. Every chapter starts with a relevant quote from famous Americans. I can’t say that I agree with every single one of them, but there’s food for thought in most. It also proves that when you take a quote out of its relevant context, it can be used to illustrate or support the opposite of what was originally intended. The last chapter feels a bit rushed as if there was a deadline waiting. I suppose it was the only way to get the SS out of the way but it's not an elegant solution. The book has an open ending, a cliffhanger even that leaves ample room for a sequel. This is certainly one of the best books that I’ve read this year (not all of them new though) and the suspense creeps to incredible levels. Just one of those books that I could not put down until my tablet battery ran empty. I thank NetGalley and Sideway books for the free ARC they provided me with; this is my honest, unbiased review of it.

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  • Excellent

    I liked The Wall by N.J. Croft a lot. The author crafted a great storyline and one that had me saying at some points, "This could really happen." The author was masterful in creating a world that is eerily close to what is and may happen in our future. I liked all the characters (even the evil ones). They were each unique and had me invested in their stories and what would happen. I also liked how the plot unfolded and the resolution. It seems there may be more books to come (maybe a series). I hope so. I want to read more about these characters. An important and true line and what feels like is happening in our world today is, "All it takes for evil to prevail is good men to do nothing." I would highly recommend this book. A great storyline and solid characters, and good action and intrigue.

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  • Timely and terrifying...

    The Wall is truly one of those books that cannot be put down until the very last sentence. The premise of the story is a basic and simple principle about the corrupting influence of power. The impact really comes when various situation arise that are eerily familiar to recent non-fiction headlining events. In this story, the President of the United States is Harry Coffell, Jr. He succeeded his father’s administration when Harry Coffell, Sr., became too ill to manage the complex duties of the office. Harry, Jr. has won the hearts of many Americans by providing security, ample food, and readily available medical care to most Americans. The cost of this seemingly peaceful and secure existence is merely the “temporary” limitation of certain freedoms. As the story progresses, however, it becomes apparent that the security enjoyed by some does not extend to all and that the cost for such comfortable complacency is far too high. Is the wall around the entire country there to keep Americans safe from hostile invaders, or is it there to keep Americans confined within a tightly controlled perimeter to be drugged by a haze of propaganda carefully crafted to perpetuate the status quo and ensure absolute control of every aspect of the lives of its citizenry? Why has travel become so stringently restricted within the confines of American borders? What does the administration not want the people to see? Are there really hordes of enemies at the gates threatening America’s existence, or has the rest of the world simply gone on about their business as a once great nation has withdrawn into its shell and cut off all communications? Two amazing characters emerge from this dystopia and begin to ask dangerous questions. Kate Buchanan, a homeland security computer savant, and Gideon Frome, a former soldier now promoted to second-in-command of the Secret Service, together, begin to uncover some very unsettling facts about American life under the current regime. This story is on point with several very real current issues. It is both compelling and disturbing with its extrapolations of possibilities regarding a government where power goes unchecked and where democracy has been smothered “for the good of the people”. You may want to grab an antacid before starting this book as it will provoke not only thought, but plenty of anxiety as the tension steadily escalates with each page. I found the story to be well-crafted, the characters relatable, and the premise chilling. I especially loved the provocative quotes from former founding fathers and presidents at the beginning of each chapter. I highly recommend this captivating read to all enthusiasts of speculative fiction and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I was provided with an advance copy of this book by the author and I am voluntarily offering my honest and unbiased review.

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  • A Very Uncomfortably Familiar Future

    "The Wall" by N. J. Croft Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I read for seven hours straight, and now I have a book migraine (no sleep because I was reading) to show for it. I do not recommend starting this book before going to sleep, but definitely get it and read it. So this is a full-length novel at 303 pages set in the near future. It is a stand-alone domestic political thriller with no cliffhanger, very little swearing, and a few, lightly explicit, adult scenes which didn’t go beyond the bedroom door. The author leaves you feeling good at the end or at least relieved, until the last sentence. The book was well edited with only a few typos hardly worth mentioning. The story reads more like a prophecy rather than fiction and is frighteningly believable. It gives one answer to what happens when you give up your freedom for safety. The main characters find out that their perfect world is just a façade that hides a lot of ugly, and the realization has been a long time coming. They have to decide how far they are willing to go and how much they are willing to risk to save the world. The characters are believable and well-developed, as are the rest of the story elements. There’s suspense, politics, love, danger, loss, past rape (no details), secrets, death, a war hero, a computer nerd, a fledgling A.I., and wonderful presidential quotes at the beginning of each chapter. A very well-written story that is engaging and mesmerizing, making it hard to put down before you get to the end. A chilling portrayal of what our future could hold. I highly recommend this book and give it an A (5 stars). I was given an ARC of this book in the hopes that I would voluntarily leave an honest review.

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