Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Cattle

The CattleThe Cattle by Greg M. Sarwa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The author gets five stars for his fast-paced story.
I'll only give three stars for the proofing/editing.

Greg Sarwa’s The Cattle is a chilling and incisive glimpse at one possible future facing America. Following a wave of fear and uncertainty brought about by continued terrorist attacks on US interests both at home and abroad, the American government reacts in a decisive, far-reaching effort to curtail acts of violence and end terrorist anonymity. However, in its haste to protect its citizens, the federal government unknowingly squanders the hard-won freedoms purchased with the blood of our forefathers. With international terrorism growing at an alarming rate, ample justification exists for the creation of a National Identification System (NIDS), an electronic guardian of unprecedented scope. The legislation enacted to protect Americans now threatens to irrevocably alter the American way of life, and only a select few are even aware of the dark agenda that takes shape under the guise of protecting our citizenry.

Does this sound like fiction? Perhaps, but it isn’t as improbable as one might think. Disturbingly enough, the technologies needed to make this system a reality are either available or under development today.

But questions remain.

Exactly where are the boundaries of such a system? By accident, Brian Warburton discovers the answer to this question and copies startling evidence of the system’s capabilities on a computer disk. When his dead body is searched, the disk is nowhere to be found.

What secrets have been uncovered? Clues to the disk’s disappearance are contained on a security camera videotape that has also vanished. A trail of death follows both the tape and the disk in a fast-paced and deadly game of cat and mouse.

Can America be warned in time? Chicago TV news reporter, Jacob Reed, through an unusual sequence of events, finds himself thrust into the role of would-be-savior. He must unravel the mystery quickly, all the while staying one step ahead of his coldly efficient pursuers. As Jacob tries to ferret out the truth, others become caught up in a lethal race against time: Jacob’s friend, Eric Lester, whose computer expertise proves indispensable; a Polish immigrant named Anna Tabor who finds herself entangled in a sinister intrigue; Jacob’s “boss”, Richard Leyland, also unwittingly drawn into the fray as the fate of America hangs in the balance.

All in all, The Cattle is a cold splash in the face -- a stark, sobering view of what might yet come to pass. It is a tale many will find as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Chicagoans will delight in the familiar settings, Americans will be enthralled by Jacob’s common man heroics, and readers everywhere will pause to wonder, “Is this fiction or is this a prophecy?”

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