By E. B. Alston
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Imagine a time in the
future when the
I like this book so much I would like to tell you some of my thoughts thatI could not work into my review.
First, this is your best novel. The subject matter fascinated me. All along the way I kept thinking - "Wow, we really could use these reforms. This man is right on target. Yes! Let's get started right away." Then Paul Harvey's comment of "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" came to mind and I asked myself if we could stop anyone once they really got going? I do not know the answer to the above question.
Next, how many comments are your personal opinions? Can I guess? Page 14 "The candidates spent time in torturous explanations which explained nothing." You do not like government people any better than I do. Re- education: you also do not like the no-child-left-behind rule. Re our prison system: Why have death row if no one dies? Re-zero tolerance policy on anything: It does not work because it eliminates common sense and then we really have problems.
Third, some questions. 1. Is this the same Rachel and Graham of "A Deal of a Lifetime?" 2. Did you base Henry and Catlin on Henry VII and Princess Diana? 3. I translated the inscription on the coat of arms as Hope In God.
inscription on the coat of arms really got to me. Other than having
Priests pray at meals and the Pope preside at weddings and coronations,
God was completely absent from all actions. Sunday's Gospel (
Fifth. Catlin's behavior after the death of Henry surprised me (maybe I'm too naive). I expected her to have a softer attitude. Her first act as first in command "BAM" Kill all the Russian army. Absolute power - it was the perfect ending.
Finally, I plan re-read this book and write a second review. I re-read books all the time and I knew by the time I got to chapter 4 that I would re-read this one. It is really a terrific book and it deserves a more careful reading that I was able to give it..I told my husband he has to read it, I know he will enjoy it.
“It’s the only way these tribes survive,” Farouk advised the American ambassador. “They have no other way to obtain money for necessities.”
The American ambassador was outraged but his ire was nothing compared to Alexander’s. The French ambassador tried to caution Farouk about infuriating the Americans but he was cut off.
The Algerian ambassador reported to his boss that the Americans were up in arms over the matter and the king had ordered cancellation of all military leaves, ordered mobilization of reserves, requisitioned the entire fleet of American owned cruise and cargo ships and had also requisitioned every American owned airliner.
When his foreign minister passed this information on to Farouk, his only comment was the American king was bluffing. The U.N., the French, British, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian governments all sent urgent messages to Farouk to resolve the situation before things got out of control. They also sent delegations to Alexander urging patience. Alexander heard them out but was tight-lipped about his plans. Farouk continued in his belief that Alexander was bluffing.
On the third day of the
crisis, the Russians reported to Farouk that the entire Royal American
Navy was steaming at top speed towards the
<From page 28>
The commander of the units who fought the Royal Marine rescue team was terrified at the prospect of taking on more Americans and urged his leader to back off.
“Your Excellency, they fought like tigers and wouldn’t surrender. A thousand such men would destroy our whole army.”
Farouk dismissed his worrying,
“You let one little incident make you a coward.
<From page 28>
Before dawn on the next day, the ninth day of the crisis, Farouk was awakened and told that American Commandos (The Tennessee 105th Royal Commando Regiment) were inside his palace compound. He was then informed that all Algerian seaports and airports were in American hands and tens of thousands of American troops were disembarking on Algerian soil. The last information he received before his capture was that the Royal American Army was on the outskirts of his capital.
<From page 29>
The Moroccan dictator was furious that the Americans would blatantly assassinate someone to whom he had guaranteed safety. He demanded the American ambassador explain and apologize for their high handed actions. He was in a rage when the ambassador was ushered into his office.
“You had no right to come into my country and murder a citizen of my neighbor!he shouted before the American ambassador had a chance to sit down. “I guaranteed this man safety and your government didn’t even try to contact me to negotiate custody!” He was still shouting and pacing around the room, waving his arms.
The American ambassador remained calm, “It was a military necessity.”
“You goddamn Americans think everything is a military necessity. You had no right to attack my neighbor.”
“They failed to protect an American citizen who was in their country at their government’s request.”
“So,” he said with heavy sarcasm, “You invaded a peaceful country, murdered its ruler and his family and massacred his military forces.”
“They killed an American and the force that was sent to rescue him.”
“For one man’s life, you killed over two hundred thousand men?”
“Yes,” the ambassador replied calmly.
The ambassador’s calm demeanor
angered the dictator even more. He pointed his finger at the ambassador’s
nose, “What would you say if I ordered all American property in
“I would remind you that a quarter of a million American troops are less than one hour from your border and another quarter of a million can be deployed before nightfall.”
He took his finger away from the ambassador’s face and stared at him. He turned and walked to his desk and sat down.
Then the American ambassador coolly informed him that the 105th Royal Commando Regiment could be inside his palace in twenty-five minutes.
<From page 50>
In 2077, Edward’s oldest
child, Princess Elizabeth visited
When the king was informed of
the situation his reaction was what you might expect from a
<From page 52>
It was election year in the
<From page 53>
King Edward died suddenly in
January of 2084 of an aneurism. Twenty-six year old Henry ascended to the
throne. He was the youngest king of the Clark Dynasty. The
<From page 56>
President Jackson’s choice of commanding general for the attack was coincidentally ironic. His name was Grant, Major General Hugh B. Grant. He fell into the role with gusto, started smoking cigars, drinking from a whiskey bottle in public and a few days before the attack, started wearing an old style Calvary hat like the one worn by the other General Grant.
Unknown to them, the other irony was the commander of the opposing American forces was Major General T. J. Jackson, ACOV and the Duke of Atlanta, but similarities in his case were few. For starters, he was black. But like the other General Jackson, he was an effective and aggressive commander.
General Jackson hated the
General Jackson was also a serious man, much like the British Duke of Wellington. He was not the type of man who had a nickname. Nobody ever called him “Tommy” or “TJ”. While units he commanded had never retreated an inch, nobody ever called him “Stonewall” either. Even his commoner wife addressed him as “Your Grace” in public.
<From page 59>
After the first contingent of
tanks crossed the bridge, infantry followed and began to fan out into
Mobile artillery followed the tanks with about a mile of separation to allow the tanks room to maneuver if they met any opposition.
As soon as the first
All eight Royal Army tanks
fired at the same time. There was no loud bang as with cannons. There was
just a violent “whoosh” and a stream of incandescent blue light flew at
the closest tanks and gun transports. When the plasma struck its target, a
super hot ball of energy enveloped it and exploded the fuel tank. That was
followed a few seconds later by exploding ammunition inside the vehicle as
it turned cherry red.
<From page 65>
By the end of the first day, the
Royal Army, Marines and Empire troops occupied the whole of
Diplomatic residents of
“The Royal Army captain who
came to our gate spoke perfect French and she was both polite and
reassuring. Throughout the day the soldiers guarding the compound
displayed the same attitude. I observed a relaxed camaraderie between both
officers and the ranks. They possess an élan unseen since
<From page 94>
While they were waiting for their meal, a group of young people came in. Among them was a striking dark haired young woman wearing a sweater and long skirt. She caught Henry’s attention and while he was giving her the once over she looked at him. Their eyes met and she gave him a sly grin. She was engaged in conversation with members of her party while they waited to be seated but she looked Henry’s way several times. Every time she did, he was looking at her. An electric spark passed between them.
“Carl, do you see the tall, dark haired girl in line by the register?”
“There are several girls in the line. Which one?”
“The pretty one.”
“All of them are pretty, Your Majesty.”
“Don’t call me that here. Call me Henry,” he hissed. “The one in the gray sweater and long blue skirt.”
“Oh, that one. She is quite attractive, Sir.”
“Ask her to dine with us.”
Gillespie went over to where the girl was standing and introduced himself. They had a few words after which she followed him to their table while her companions watched.
“Caitlin, this is Henry. Henry, meet Caitlin.”
Henry stood and shook her hand. “I’m pleased to meet you, Caitlin. Would you join us for dinner?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t. I’m with a group.” She smiled, “But I would if I was free.”
Henry’s disappointment showed. “I wish you’d reconsider.”
“I can’t. Maybe another time?”
“I’m going back home on Monday.”
“You’re an American, aren’t you?”
“Yes.” Then he smiled, “Aren’t you?”
She laughed, “I became one the first of this month. I am officially Lady Caitlin Rose York.” Then she laughed again. “Isn’t that something! What’s your official name?”
“Sir Henry Clark and this is Sir Carl Gillespie.”
“Well, Sir Henry, could we meet somewhere for lunch tomorrow?”
“You name the place.”
“How about eleven-thirty
tomorrow at the Crackpot Restaurant on
“I’ll be there.”
She looked back toward her friends. They were motioning for her to come.
“I must rejoin my party. Should I curtsy now, Sir Henry?” she giggled.
He laughed, “Not in informal circumstances, Lady Caitlin.”
As she turned to leave, she looked back over her shoulder. “See you tomorrow,” she said as she smiled sweetly and rejoined her group. When they were going to their table, she looked his way twice more and smiled when their eyes met.
After she was out of sight, Henry observed, “What a gorgeous creature.”
Carl had been watching his love struck monarch with humorous detachment. “She is quite attractive, Your Majesty.”
“She’s prettier than the CIA spy.”
Gillespie laughed, “That is saying a lot, Your Majesty.”
<From page 100>
Henry’s Chief of Staff, Lord Walter Jones, called Henry early the next morning
“Your Majesty, you must explain to this girl who you are.”
“Why? It’s only a date to go to a ballgame.”
“Carl has told me how infatuated you are with her.”
I’m excited about a pretty girl. Does that create a situation where my
cabinet meets to discuss a date their king has with a girl in
“Sire, everything you do is important to the realm.”
everything, Walter. It’s only one date. What can be wrong if Henry Clark
has one date with a pretty girl in
“Suppose the relationship intensifies and she becomes candidate for queen?”
“Suppose it does? I’ll tell her then.”
“Don’t you think she might be offended by your deception?”
“A little, maybe, but by then it ought not to matter if she likes me.”
“Your Majesty, any deception weakens a relationship when it’s discovered.”
“She would get over it.”
“Sire, you ought not to chance it. How would you feel?”
“I’d get over it.”
“Nothing in my experience indicates that you have any tolerance for deceptive behavior.”
Henry didn’t respond.
“She comes from a good family. Her father was a state senator. He’s been very helpful to us and has been appointed to the council. In September, he’ll be named Duke of Cumberland.”
“So, I chose well,” he said sarcastically.
“Actually, you did. Remember, you’re twenty-six and your realm needs an heir.”
“How about Rachel?”
“Sire, Rachel is much too spirited for the demands of Head of State.”
“And William is too bookish.”
“Exactly, Your Majesty. We need new blood.”
“But it’s just a date.”
“I understand, Your Majesty.”
“All the others couldn’t forget my job and like me personally. They loved the King. The real Henry was something they wanted to leave in a closet out of sight.”
“Maybe this girl is different, Henry.”
“It would make me feel better if she liked me before she knew who I was.”
“Your Majesty, do not deceive this girl. If she is the one, you, her and your subjects will suffer.”
Carl contacted Caitlin that night saying Henry would like to meet her family Friday evening after dinner. She was mystified by this unusual request and had trouble concentrating at work while speculating about it. Both of her parents were mystified too. But these Americans were different and were sticklers for process.
and Carl arrived at the
Caitlin introduced her parents to Henry and Carl. After introductions, Henry got right to the point.
“Sir Richard and Lady Francis, your daughter told me that before she could go out with me I had to tell you what I do for a living.”
Her father nodded.
“Then, I’ll tell all of you at the same time. But first I must apologize to Caitlin for concealing my true identity from her.” He paused and looked at Caitlin. “My chief of staff and cabinet have been unanimous in advising me that I must correct any misconceptions I might have caused as quickly as possible,” he paused again, looking at Caitlin to gauge her reaction. She was staring at him.
He addressed her parents first, “Sir, Lady,” then he spoke directly to Caitlin, “and Caitlin, I am the King.”
Caitlin’s jaw dropped, “You’re King Henry!” she stammered.
“Yes, I am, Caitlin. I apologize for not telling you before.”
“Why didn’t you tell me who you were?”
“I wanted to get to know you while you thought I was an ordinary man.”
Carl tried to ease their stress, “Sir and Lady York, there are no protocol issues involved. In informal settings, Henry expects to be treated like anybody else. And His Majesty is sincerely attracted to your daughter.”
Caitlin regained some semblance of composure, “When would you have told me?"
“After I knew that you liked plain old Henry Clark.”
“I’d be mad.”
Sir Richard found his voice, “She doesn’t mean it like she said it, Your Majesty. She means she might be upset.”
“Daddy, I’d be mad then. I’m upset now.”
“My daughter is very outspoken, Your Majesty. Please don’t take offense.”
“Could the three of you please leave the room so Caitlin and I can discuss this privately?” Henry suggested, trying to keep it from sounding like an order.
motioned for the
After they were alone, Henry continued, “Caitlin, when we’re together I want you to be yourself and forget I am your King. I want us to be just Caitlin and Henry.”
“How about when we go somewhere in public, like a baseball game?”
“We’ll go like we planned.”
“Will Carl be with us?”
“He’ll be close but not so close we won’t have privacy.”
“What about guards? I thought you would have guards everywhere.”
“They’re inconspicuous. They blend in with the crowd.”
“How many came with you?”
“What should I call you?”
“Henry, when we’re in private or in an informal group. If we’re in a formal setting or a mixed group which includes commoners, you must address me as ‘Your Majesty’.”
“So, if my friends had been with us at our table, they could have called you, ‘Henry’.”
“Yes.” He paused, “Caitlin, I’m sorry I misled you but I was afraid if you knew who I was you wouldn’t want to go out with me, or worse, think you had to. I’m afraid of that now.”
She looked at him. She knew he was sincere. And he was still handsome and very nice, in spite of being King.
She smiled, “I’ll be okay, Henry. It will be quite an adjustment but I’ll try if you want me too.”
<From page 225>
Fawzi was standing across the street when Henry and Carl exited the building. He hadn’t heard that the king was in town and was surprised to see him. He cursed the missed opportunity because the king was out of the building, in the car and gone before Fawzi could react. He moved across the street to get a little closer to the entrance. He felt the grenade in his coat pocket and put his finger in the ring. There was a crowd outside the studio. He didn’t notice the two men in business suits who followed him across the street, one on his left and the other on his right, each staying about twenty feet away.
[Latin] “Lady York and her party are about to leave the building.”
[Latin] “Where is he?”
[Latin]”He’s moved across the street closer to the entrance.”
[Latin] “How far from the door?”
[Latin] “A hundred and seven feet.”
[Latin] “Who’s closest to Lady York?”
[Latin] “He’s new. Why is he assigned to close protection?”
[Latin] “Lady Hamilton ordered it.”
[Latin] “Who in hell does she think she is? That’s the guard commander’s decision.”
[Latin] “Lady Hamilton insisted and he agreed.”
[Latin] “That woman has far too much influence.”
[Latin] “They’re coming out of the building.”
[Latin] “Are our people in position?”
Fawzi noticed the crowd becoming excited and moved a little closer to the entrance. He guessed the king’s bride-to-be would emerge from the center door and moved in front of it. That way, if she came out of one of the other doors, he could easily adjust. His heart started pounding when he saw a man open the door and hold it open. Then he saw her approaching.
Fawzi was getting light headed from the tension as he focused on her to the exclusion of everything else. As she exited the door, he decided to move quickly. At his first step, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a man start running towards him. He had to act now! He took the grenade from his pocket, pulled the pin and lobbed it in the direction of the woman as she stood smiling at the crowd. He heard the grenade hit the pavement just as the man tackled him. Then another man was on him and he was pinned to the ground.
<From page 227>
Caitlin had exited the building and turned to speak to Emma when she saw something falling toward her. Then she heard a metallic “clunk” when it hit the pavement about three feet away. Before she could react, the guard holding the door threw himself on the object and two other guards shoved her roughly back inside the building, positioning themselves in front and behind her with weapons drawn. Then she heard a “pop” like a firecracker had exploded and saw smoke emerge from under the guard on the ground. In seconds, nine guards had surrounded her with weapons drawn. The guard commander ran up and ordered them to move Lady York into the conference room off the lobby while he sorted things out.
National television cameras had recorded the whole scene. One of the guards urged Caitlin to sit down. She looked around for Emma. Emma and Kathy were standing behind her with ashen looks on their faces. The guard commander came in.
“Lady York, an Egyptian has made an attempt on your life.”
“We don’t know yet but we will know within the hour. He has been arrested and is being taken to detention.”
“What did he throw at me?’
“A grenade. It turned out to be an old training grenade but he thought it was the real thing.”
“Was the guard who threw himself on it injured?”
“No, Milady. He was wearing body armor and it was like a big firecracker explosion.”
“Suppose it had been a real grenade?”
“He might have been killed, Milady.”
“Bring him to me.”
“Right away, Milady.”
The guard commander left and a moment later returned with the guard. The front of the guard’s suit and shirt were smudged and burned in spots but otherwise he appeared to be all right. He came to attention in front of Caitlin.
“You sent for me, Milady.”
“Yes, I did. What is your name?
“Agent Parker, Milady.”
“What you did was very courageous.”
“I have sworn to defend your life with mine,” he replied.
“Then today, you have proven both your courage and your devotion to me.”
“Thank you, Milady.”
“I wish you to be my personal bodyguard from now on.”
“Thank you, Milady,” he stammered and dropped to his knees before Caitlin and bowed his head. She extended her hand. He took her hand and kissed it.
He was overcome with emotion, “You do me great honor, Milady,” he said with a trembling voice. Cameras recorded the whole scene while the crowd applauded and cheered.
<From page 228>
At the cabinet meeting the next morning, Walter played the recording of the television program and the assassination attempt. When it was over, he sat back, folded his arms and grinned.
“What did I tell you?” he gloated. “She is every inch a queen!”
<From page 230>
It was in
When the ambassador was escorted into the president’s office, he got right to the point. “An Egyptian citizen has attempted to assassinate Lady Caitlin York, the king’s fiancée.”
The president was speechless for a moment, “This is terrible!” he said, “How could this be?” he asked, while thinking of an intelligent question to ask.
“He was a religious fanatic, a member of the sect
that caused the trouble at
“I hope that Lady York was not injured.”
“She was not injured.”
“Then I thank Allah that he has spared Lady York. I can assure you that my government did not participate or condone this in any way.”
“We know that.”
How could these Americans know everything he thought? “Then I will arrest and punish any Egyptian citizens who participated in this in the slightest fashion.”
“His Majesty has requested that you arrest them and turn them over to us.”
“But they are not Americans, they are Egyptian citizens. It is our responsibility to dispense justice to our citizens on our soil.”
“His Majesty insists you turn them over to us.”
“There are international laws which forbid this.”
“American law is above international law in this case.”
He tried to buy some time, “We’ll have to investigate the matter and identify the culprits.”
The ambassador handed him a list with seventy-nine names on it. “These are the individuals you are to deliver to us.”
He glanced down the list. There was a senior member of his diplomatic staff on it and the heads of two prominent families in El-Uqsor. “There are women and children’s names here.”
“American law requires that the parents and siblings of violent criminals be executed.”
The president was appalled, “I cannot do this!”
“The king demands that you deliver all the people
on this list to the American Airlines gate at the
“That’s the day after tomorrow.”
“That is correct,” the ambassador confirmed coldly.
“I must confer with my advisors on this matter.”
“Time is short. The first and third Algerian armies will be at your western frontier by tomorrow afternoon. Three Saudi Arabian armies and one South African army will be posted on your eastern border by tomorrow. The Foreign Legion; the 82nd and 101st Royal Airborne Divisions are boarding planes now for immediate deployment. Advise me of your decision by nine tomorrow.”
The American ambassador stood up, bowed to the president, turned on his heel and took his leave.
The president sat quietly at his desk. It would take his army a month to mobilize. Then he realized no matter what position he took, the people whose names were on the list were doomed. Even if the Americans didn’t invade his country and take it over, they would hunt them down and assassinate all of them where they lived. Those damned fanatics! Why did this idiot have to be born an Egyptian? And those damned Americans! Why had Allah allowed them to become so all-powerful? Were they Allah’s punishment for those of insufficient piety? He had forgotten to ask what they planned to do with the man they had arrested.