Gordon W. Dale
North Atlantic Books, May 10 2011, $19.99
Simon Wyley resides in a clinical white eight by eight cell. Like his customized externally imposed numbers to identify him with, Wylie knows his latest prison symbolizes his entire life with the lack of color. The room also lacks sound except when he talks to a white wall or white sheet as even the faucets lack the constant drumming of drips as no water comes from them.
Wyley is a husband and father who has been gainfully employed for two decades yet now lingers in a pristine cell with the only interaction is with his interrogators who want him to confess to his crimes against the state. Ironically he thinks of the republic demanding rights overseas, but his was stripped away by some vague national security mumbo jumbo. None of the inquisitionist professionals have formally charged him with a crime nor allowed him any contact with his family or a lawyer; as he has vanished into their white box. However, this genus whimsically answers the questioners with satirical vagueness as he increasingly has no hope to ever leaving his cell alive.
The eerie background feels right for this stark timely political thriller (the Patriot Act quietly has been renewed once again). The story line echoes Benjamin Franklin’s wise commentary that “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither". Fool’s Republic is a terrific look at how easily the government gives and takes away under the guise of national security. Simon and readers will learn that to officials there are worse treasonous acts than betraying the nation, the Constitution or the people.