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Fri

22

Feb

2008

Rebels in Hell - Book Review by Alan Bisbort
Friday, 22 February 2008 18:51
by Alan Bisbort

Michael O’McCarthy has been many things during his eventful and occasionally tumultuous life. Not only has he been a journalist, poet, novelist, film producer and artist, he has also been what you might call a political prisoner. He walks, in other words, the walk. On his good days, he says, he is “a revolutionary humanist” and on his bad ones, he “simply hates the ruling class.”

Well, yes, judging from his new novel, Rebels in Hell (iUniverse), O’McCarthy hates the ruling class with a sort of white-hot intensity. He proves himself to be a polemical fictionalist in the mold of Orwell and Huxley. Take his protagonist, Healy, an idealistic writer whose ire was “focused on the politicians who had stolen the country for the rich.” Hmmmm. Sounds familiar. Healy’s foil is Miguel, the assassin for hire who learned his craft (extremely well!) in the U.S. Marines.

Miguel makes a living killing “threats to the United States.” He has gotten regular work from the conservative media mogul John W. Austin, a sort of evil spawn of Richard Mellon Scaife, George W. Codpiece and John Wayne Gacy. As it happens, Austin has a predilection for kiddie porn and S&M—in addition to his hankering for the deaths of duly elected “liberal” presidents and other heads of state—and the protagonist finds out about it. Miguel is hired to kill him. And yet he can’t because, well, that’s why you gotta get a copy of Rebels in Hell.

Though O’McCarthy’s novel is set in the near future, with the “3rd Petroleum War” in full swing, the tale is as timely as this week’s headlines from Iraq and Afghanistan and as old as the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. There’s some CIA-sanctioned poppy growing mixed in here with Saudi royals who’ve relocated to Arizona (and why not, as it looks and feels politically like Arabia) and a pending world war that will make all previous ones seem like bathtub water fights.

And yet, the rebels gather on the edges of this story, by the tens of thousands and, like all true revolutionaries, take matters into their own hands. In spite of the author’s obvious rage, he sees hope in a coming revolution. Well, put it this way, if the revolution doesn’t come soon, everything else is just pointless, if not hopeless.

There is a raw truth to O’McCarthy’s idea that the oil companies will not relinquish their stranglehold on the world’s energy paradigm without causing widespread bloodshed. Indeed, they’re doing it even as we speak.

To order the book, go to amazon.com
 
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