Tuesday, August 28, 2012

State of Rebellion / Gordon Ryan

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Political/Military Thriller

Approximate word count: 130-135,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Gordon Ryan “has been a traditionally published author since 1994. Ryan was a Recon Marine in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis. He served in Bangkok with the Air Force during Vietnam and at the American Embassy in Dublin, Ireland, during the violent ‘70s.”

In addition to this volume, the first in the Pug Connor series, Ryan has two other books available in the series with at least one more planned. He also has another series (historical fiction) and a few standalone volumes for your favorite e-reader.

For more, visit Ryan’s website.


“California is on the brink of secession, and those who oppose this drastic political maneuver are turning up dead. Federal Agent Nicole Bentley is sent to discover what she can about the movement and meets up with Assemblyman and National Guard JAG officer Daniel Rawlings, a man whose commitment to his country runs deep in his blood. Resisting their mutual attraction, they uncover a plot devised by greedy men bent on taking power at any cost.

As Colonel Pug Connor, working under the direction of the President of the United States, seeks to root out the leaders of the Western Patriot Movement --a military cadre with a chip on its shoulder-- Nicole and Dan find themselves literally in the crossfire. Can they end the dispute between the various factions before they all end up martyrs for the cause?”


In State of Rebellion, Gordon Ryan has imagined an alternative history for the US in 2012, with the US facing its biggest crisis since the Civil War. The premise, that the people of California, tired of encroachment on what they perceive as their rights as a state by the federal government, hold a vote to leave the United States and become a separate country. Similar to what the Southern states attempted in the Civil War, there has been enough noise made from time to time by states (the most recent I can think of being a secession movement in Montana) to make the premise plausible.

Ryan’s characters, especially Dan Rawlings and Nicole Bentley, who take center stage for much of the book, are well-formed, complex characters. The characters who could be called “villains” in this tale are credible and not unlike people who actually exist – in fact they’re all too easy to find in the current political climate.

One aspect of the book set it apart from many political thrillers. It seems most political thrillers that come across my desk pit two groups with clearly defined political leanings against each other. This is virtually always a group of villains  with an extremist political agenda, typically right-wing, with heroes who lean moderately in the other direction, usually slightly to the left. In State of Rebellion, the villains fit the typical mold, with political beliefs about as far to the right as possible, but the heroes aren’t as easy to nail down. If forced to classify them, I’d say they’re moderate, very close to the middle of the road, possibly even leaning slightly to the right. While this means there is slightly less contrast between the two factions, it also means a much broader reader base should find the politics of the heroes closer to their own.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars

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