The Bottom Line: An intoxicating and frighteningly believable spy caper set in the near future.
The hotly anticipated sequel to Preston Fleming’s EXILE HUNTER begins in 2034 Washington D.C., as renegade State Security Officer Warren Linder is in custody. He’s been convicted of treason, insurrection, seditious conspiracy, murder and more. He’s already been sentenced to death not once, but twice.
Unionist Party General Secretary Paul Twitchell orders Linder’s immediate execution. However, he’s persuaded to wait a week or two – just long enough for LInder to undergo interrogation.
Fleming then rewinds the timeline to 2031, as Linder arrives in London a decade after escaping from a Yukon labor camp. Linder’s mission, while nuanced, is clear: to take down the Unionist regime seeking to strengthen its grip on power by expanding foreign trade with Europe.
He soon learns about the American Constitution League, a resistance group that wants to join forces. Linder has his suspicions, even after learning that the League seems to have the police “in their pocket.” As Fleming reveals early on, Linder has good reason to be suspicious, setting up a delicious cat-and-mouse spy game.
Fleming’s story is inspired by Operation Trust, a historic Soviet counterintelligence operation from the 1920s. Perhaps thanks to the timeless themes of betrayal and power-mad ruling elites, Fleming’s projection of global geopolitics in the 2030s is frighteningly believable. It’s a world where economic unrest, labor strikes, crop-burning, doomed government intervention and a second American civil war have threatened global stability and life itself. Given just how many Americans today purportedly believe that a second civil war is likely, many readers won’t find it hard to rally behind Linder’s plight.
It’s made easier by the fact that Linder is simultaneously calculating and thoughtful. While not condemning terror attacks or assassinations entirely, a telling moment comes as he tries to convince a fellow renegade leader that widespread political violence must come to an end: “Our attacks represent little more than pinpricks. Even worse, violence does our enemies the favor of making martyrs of them.”
Overall, EXILE ENDGAME succeeds wildly as a political thriller set in a time when the U.S. – if not the entire world – is at a dangerous tipping point. To gain a full understanding of Linder’s origin story and motivations, readers are encouraged to begin with Book 1 of Fleming’s Kamas trilogy.