Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tough, patriotic, and a believer

Andrew Klavan, in an interview, explained what he was trying to do with his Homelander series of books:
...[I]f you want to tell a story that cool, you can’t preach and you can’t hammer people with your point of view, so I decided, okay, I just want to change the rules of the game, that’s all. Instead of the usual alienated teen, or the wimpy guy who finds a magical sword, I’m gonna make my hero the kind of hero I like to read about: a manly guy who loves America, believes in God and is ready to fight for liberty if he has to. I thought, in the current climate, that alone would be revolutionary.
The third book in the series, The Truth of the Matter, was published at the beginning of this month. From Lars Walker's review:
.... “Extreme” describes The Truth Of the Matter well—not in the sense of extreme shock content or extreme edginess, but in the sense of action that never slackens, but constantly ratchets up the dramatic tension. Poor Charlie barely gets a chance to grab a nap or anything to eat through the whole story. Wherever he turns, he’s got enemies on his tail. The premise isn’t terribly realistic, but that’s the whole point. This roller coaster of a story isn’t intended to give you time to consider its plausibility. The only drawback is that it’s so compelling that it’s hard to stretch the reading of it longer than a day and a half or so, and you want more. On the other hand, Charlie’s earned some rest.
Somewhere in the Bible—I couldn’t remember where just then—it says you’re supposed to be happy about the hard things that happen to you, you’re supposed to be grateful for the “trials” you go through because they test your faith and harden your endurance. Well, I definitely wasn’t happy—or grateful. The truth is: I was angry, ticked off to the maximum. I was sick of trials, sick of being tested. I was eighteen, for crying out loud. I was supposed to be getting ready for college. I was supposed to be with my girl. I was supposed to be preparing for life. It wasn’t fair that things should be so hard for me, so dangerous. It wasn’t fair that there was no one to help me, that God wouldn’t help me, that I was all alone. I wanted my life back, my ordinary life. I wanted to go home. It wasn’t fair.
This is the third volume in the Homelanders series (which, as I understand it, will be four books long). Charlie, who woke up at the beginning of the first book shackled to a metal chair in a torture chamber, unable to remember the entire previous year of his life, has been following up every lead he can think of ever since, to learn why a secret terrorist group is after him, and why the police think he murdered his best friend. In this volume, at last, he starts to get some answers, and his memory starts to return. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily make him safer.

But he’s a tough kid. Tough, and patriotic, and a believer. Just the kind of guy you want your own kid to hang out with. .... [more]
I've recommended this series before. Although the intended readership is young males, Klavan is so good at writing action and suspense that I read the entire thing in a couple of sittings and I don't really want to wait a year for the final volume. If you decide to read them, it is important to read them in order: The Last Thing I Remember, The Long Way Home, and then The Truth of the Matter.

Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments: Book Review: The Truth Of the Matter, by Andrew Klavan