Shalom: Stephen A. Enna and Dennis J. Wootten
Within the walls of the White House many secrets transpire. Term limits are set, candidates chosen and hopefully the best man/woman will win representing the American people. Within this novel titled Shalom, the authors bring to light many issues. Following their Bruce Gavin trilogy this next book takes place in 2028 where Jeb Bramble, the new President is about to leave office after serving two lucrative terms and now his replacement needs to be found. Imagine 8 years without a war in a foreign country. The Iran and Israeli conflict has reached critical proportions and the Republican Party is in need of someone strong enough to run against Chelsea Clinton. Searching far and wide the party needs someone who the authors call a centralist who would focus on both sides of the party lines. Added in the authors relate information about a new epidemic concerning Autism and many chapters are slated based on this issue. Introducing many characters that work in the health field and an institute devoted to Autism research we learn of an experimental program, the subjects that volunteered and the catastrophic results that they hope will lead to a cure for the common good of all. When the authors describe what these people are doing and hiding within the research lab of the Santa Catalina Institute it seems frightening to say the least. What would happen if the truth behind their serum and the results became public?
The President of the United States is concerned about who will follow him and enlists the aid of his Secretary of State to find his replacement. Little does he know the relationship that Greta Hunter has with the man that fits the bill. Losing his wife and learning that his son was just diagnosed as Autistic, sets Mac Foster into a deep frenzy and needing to learn more about what his son Ricky has in store for him as far as needed services and educational needs. With the President allocating quite a bit for research and the rise of so many being diagnosed as Autistic, statics claim now in the year 2027 that one in 25 are born with it. But, that’s just for openers as the author relates what is happening in Iran, the fact that the government of that country is secretly developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction under the guise of just protecting their domestic concerns, we enter a nuclear plant, hear the voices of the Iranian President and those involved and learn that what seems to be on the inside is fooling everyone but Israel on the outside. A rift is being formed between the United States and Israel, Hawaii was sold to China and other changes in the government were made and now we need to deal with this and much more. But ,the authors also introduce a young Israel girl whose family was obliterated and her need for revenge will spread far as she aims to hurt those who had her parents killed while working in a nuclear plant, ratted out by Germans, killed in their own home and the world thinking they never existed as Ariella, a schoolteacher, seeks and bides her time to seek revenge. Deceitful, treacherous and married to a Jewish man whom she is using for her own purposes we have yet to learn more about her plot and if she will succeed.
Mac Foster is the man that the Republican Party wants to bit or run against Democratic candidate Chelsea Clinton. Within these chapters we learn more about the Clinton family, the reasons why the Republicans feel Mac and beat her or take her on and relationship he had with the Kennedy Family, named Caroline’s daughter Rose, who was one of his students who leads the discussion about Mac, his political views and philosophy as part of his lecture and for readers to get the back story on him in a creative way.
As we hear his responses to Rose’s questions we learn more about Mac’s political views, where he stands on many issues including nuclear weapons, Iran and Israel as the authors take us deep inside his thinking. We learn that sometimes a candidate in this case running on the Republican Ticket as a different viewpoint and might create another perspective for the party. Seemingly middle ground and not fully thinking Republican or Democrat, the author flashes forward as we meet the team that he hopes will bring him to victory over Chelsea Clinton. Learning their backgrounds in education, politics and the areas that are their strongholds we hear Greta, Mac and several others discuss who will not only replace Greta but who will fill vital positions if he is elected.
Added in we learn more about Iran and what the President is really doing that seems to be fooling everyone else except Israel and where the United States Stands on taking a harder line against the administration. We also learn more about Ariella, her feelings about Israel and what she might be doing with the information her husband is leaking to her without realizing she is going to use it against him.
The authors take the time to discuss the different people and their backgrounds that will comprise his team and then they go into the strategy meetings, the issues covered and the end result. But, within the framework of the novel they flashback several times to when it all began, how Mac knew each of the other characters and we learn more about the son of the President of Iran and just how crazy he is and the dangers faced by those connected to him.
Throughout the novel the authors share the many political policies, meetings and decisions made by Mac Foster’s administration. The reader gets an up close and inside view of cabinet meetings, meetings with heads of states and the various viewpoints held by cabinet members as Chelsea Clinton agrees to become his Secretary of State and they begin to discuss the situation in Iran and Israel and the need to take a closer look at both country’s nuclear capabilities. We also learn more about the new President of Iran, his sick ways, his abuse towards this staff and his unhealthy practices dealing with women. As we learn more about each side we also learn about the areas that Mac wants to focus on dealing with EMP and explaining it to readers, the truth behind Iran’s nuclear program not being just to provide energy and the fact that Israel seems to be falling short when upgrading theirs.
As the pieces come together and the many voices are heard one more is silenced and that is the man behind the Nuclear Program in Israel who voices his opinion, whose presence to those in the United States has been denied and who cannot seem to make his ideas heard to those that are in authority within his country. What about his wife? Just who is she and what role will she try and play in his downfall? Added in what will happen when the administration learns the truth behind the research in the autism center and the fact that humans are being tested and not animals? What will they do when they learn lives were lost in the interim?
Autism plays a prominent role within this novel as the authors have done extensive research into the causes, possible cures and stages when it is diagnosed in children, their symptoms and the research needed in order hopefully find a cure. As the head of the institute relates what he feels the President, Secretary of Health and others should hear, he hones in one two areas of the brain that have distinct patterns of gene expression. Within chapter 34 readers will learn more about Autism but what will happen when the truth behind Jeffrey Wong’s research is revealed?
Truths are heard and lies are revealed and many are surprised. Honesty has always been Mac’s strong suit so when he learns the underlying theories and outcomes of what the serum do, what he decides will surprise the reader. But, the President of Iran is crazy and his actions will endanger not only Israel but US relations with them as well. Thinking Israel is weak, does not have the military power or nuclear capability to withstand what Iran is about to inflict, what happens will bring a new twist to the plot and prove that you can never under estimate the Power of the President or that of the United States.
Who wins? What happens and which power takes out the other? Shalom: the Hebrew word for Peace, completeness, prosperity, and welfare and sometimes used to say hello and goodbye. Translated it means peace. Shalam means to “restore” in the sense of replacing or providing what is needed in order to make someone or something whole and complete. Think about this novel and think about the United States, Mac, his philosophies, his ideas and his thoughts to change the United States into a more unified country whose ideas model both parties where war is not the only option and where the focus is on the real issues. Read pages 121- 132 to learn more about Mac’s plan for the White House. A novel really quite unique and characters and a plot that could easily come right off of a CNN newscast or the Fox Channel News as we learn the final fate of our country, our President and more importantly the true meaning of the word SHALOM!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer