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Reviewed by Richard W. Stevens
The Black Arrow
By Vin Suprynowicz
May 10, 2005
Trade paperback, 703 pages
Mountain Media, Las Vegas
How might Americans become the insurgents in their own land? What might be the strategies, tactics and motivations for citizens to fight an oppressive government in the former land of the free? The U.S. has not suffered a war on its own territory in nearly 150 years, but Vin Suprynowicz's new novel of the near future, The Black Arrow, takes the reader right into the battle that just might really happen.
Vin Suprynowicz, a veteran journalist, ranks among America's finest editorialists. If you would like to understand how the resurging American classical liberal views the world, then Vin's work should be your first choice.
In this fictional work as with his editorials, Vin's clear, direct and often wry style nukes all vestiges of ambiguity. Read what Vin writes, and you understand what Vin thinks.
So how would Vin craft a novel? Like a journalist who knows his craft -- who observes and relates the facts and details carefully -- but who sees also into the minds of the actors and reveals their hidden thoughts. I smiled often while reading The Black Arrow. It is just so efficiently crafted, so marvelously paced like an expert screenplay, the images so vividly painted.
The Black Arrow tells the story of a not-too-distant future America that has suffered the further evolution of socialism, political correctness and the dejected cynicism that comes with the institutional decay of core freedom values. The Black Arrow character enters the stage of future history as the Batman, perhaps more accurately the Zorro of the time, protecting the innocent from predators and avenging injustices.
More than mere swashbuckling inhabits the 700 pages of Vin's first published novel, however. The Black Arrow character aims to reverse the decay of American values and to stop the advance of bureaucratic nitwittery and government thuggery. He attracts a crew of talented men and women, fascinating characters in their own right, to foment a rebellion in Gotham City against the smothering and oppressive regime that Americans have brought upon themselves.
The story line moves fast, the reading is nearly effortless. The Black Arrow is a novel of ideas in many ways, but the intrigue, the romance, and the twists and revelations place the book squarely in the thriller category. (It might remind you of the Fox television series, entitled "24", which has been fabulously popular in the U.S.A.)
You start reading, you quickly meet the characters, you get angry at the evils perpetrated upon the innocents, and then you just need to know what happens next! You hope the Black Arrow and his crew can prevail, and you want to see if and how they right the wrongs and stomp the bad guys. (You get your answers -- and a lot of action -- in the climactic concluding chapters.)
To add to the fun, the story weaves in snips of Irish language and the lyrics from several rock and roll songs. Facts revealed about the history, manufacture and proper use of Japanese and European swords, and insights into the operation of a crossbow, play rather more sober roles in the story. I like fiction that carries the imprint of the author's apparent interests and knowledge base, and The Black Arrow is lightly peppered with snips of factoids, subtle points, and clever word choices and turns of phrase. (Have you hugged your Graymalkin today?)
Want to see and feel what motivates American libertarians? Read this book! Especially pertinent for people who are involved in the battle of ideas and the clash of worldviews, The Black Arrow puts flesh and blood on the consequences of bad public policy and ever-encroaching government powers. Yet the book leads the reader through the thought processes without bogging down the story. How? Less by telling, much more by showing. The reasoning comes alive in the words and lives of the characters.
There is no getting around the occasional adults-only content of The Black Arrow. There occur some words and situations that, shall we say, might need some awkward explaining to a young teen. For that reason, parents might decide not to give the book to a child under 17. With that sole caveat, I would recommend The Black Arrow to any reader who enjoys action adventure and thriller novels. It's a book just aching to become a dramatic movie or miniseries, too.
(Richard Stevens, a writer and columnist, contributed to the documentary video, Innocents Betrayed, as a Creative Consultant and co-wrote the book on which the video is based, Death by "Gun Control": The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament. http:www.innocentsbetrayed.com)