"World War V" - a timely novel
First time novelist Tom Elliott has hit a home run with this propitiously published new novel, “World War V”. Elliot seems to be a cross between Follett, Vonnegut, and Pynchon but with an uncanny ability to capture the disparate characters playing in the big picture of a world stage while simultaneously being so fallibly human.
The year is 2010 and in the midst of a worldwide financial crisis, accelerating inflation, and tightening of credit, traditional military war is being replaced by economic war. OPEC, Venezuela, and Russia have been holding secret meetings, each with their own agendas but with the realization that together they can put enormous pressure on the west to advance their agendas. And together they are able to pressure China by both reassuring it on its energy supply and suggesting a way to bolster its relative geopolitical power and prestige.
This all bodes poorly for the west and especially for America. In the states unemployment has skyrocketed, personal equity has plummeted as stock values and house values drop. And to add fuel to the fire, massive natural disasters have devastated several metropolitan areas. Changing weather patterns have raised havoc with agriculture with attendant effects on food prices.
Into this dismal mix author Elliott weaves an intriguing and suspenseful account of the comings and goings at the White House, cleverly bouncing from alternative scenarios of a hawkish Republican president who very closely resembles a current candidate and an accommodating diplomatic Democratic president who is a dead ringer for another current candidate.
Russia, led behind the scenes by a clever and sinister figure who dreams of the reemergence of the Soviet, is playing its oil card and also playing a dangerous chess game where the future of world power is at stake. A growing dictatorship in Venezuela is consolidating power among several South and Latin American countries and Cuba by dangling the carrot of cheap oil. And OPEC sees this as the opportunity to finally leverage their interests against Israel.
And in the midst of such seismic events, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Iran are not sitting on their hands. A loose suitcase nuclear bomb is missing somewhere in the mix.
And China prodded by intimidation by the growing oil consortium and seeing the opening to emerge as the new world super power, secretly colludes to raise the price of exports at the same time it begins to call in the enormous debts owed by the United States. So as oil prices in the states go through the roof, prices of imported goods at the big box stores skyrocket, and the U. S. Treasury has problems printing money fast enough to pay its creditors, the new administration in Washington is simultaneously seen coping from two different cleverly juxtaposed perspectives – two time dimensions of two completely different political styles and personalities. This is one read you won’t quickly put down once begun and your heart will race as – well spoiler alert, the ending guarantees that a movie script is already in the making.