The American Crusade
by Mark Spivak
GENRE: Political Thriller
A power-hungry vice president, a bad batch of shady intelligence, and a sinister plot to destroy Western civilization.
Just another day in America.
On May 1, 2001, a group of radical Islamic terrorists crash a Boeing 737 jet airliner into the Mall of America—and Vice President Robert Hornsby knows his moment is coming.
The attack kills three thousand American citizens and throws an entire nation into a panic, but all Hornsby sees is an opportunity, a chance to imprint his fanatical values on the soul of the country he loves and become the most powerful vice president in American history.
With the aid of his affable but ineffectual president; the reluctant, conscience-stricken secretary of defense; and a preening, foppish faith leader with more than a few skeletons in his closet; Hornsby declares war on terror—and anyone who stands in his way. But as media scrutiny of the administration’s actions overseas intensifies, Hornby’s one-man campaign against evil begins to unravel—with striking parallels to the thirteenth century’s doomed Fourth Crusade—and sends the nation spiraling toward another deadly tragedy.
The American Crusade paints a grim and often cynical picture of America’s recent past, reflecting the attitudes, politics, and fears that shaped our nation in the new millennium. By sampling the contemporaneous French text on the Fourth Crusade, On the Conquest of Constantinople, author Mark Spivak reminds us of that ever-vital adage: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Fans of The Castle by Jack Pinter, The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, House of Cards by Michael Dobbs, The Whistler by John Grisham, and the Aaron Sorkin–penned TV drama The West Wing will love this book.
The lights from the lanterns flickered against the walls of the cave. It was nearing midnight on May 1 in the tribal areas of Kabulistan, the mountainous and impenetrable regions high up near the Persepostan border. Salman Al-Akbar sat on a cushion, surrounded by his inner circle. Fazil Ahmadi, his director of operations, had just finished briefing him on the aftermath of the Mall of America attack and the subsequent suicide missions around the United States.
“Allah be praised!” Al-Akbar’s normally sad eyes were bright and jubilant. “We have succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, beyond the reach of our dreams. Allah is most with us.”
“This is so,” said Fazil Ahmadi. “Had we dreamed it, it could not have gone better.”
“What time is it now in Washington?”
“Four-thirty in the afternoon, sir.”
“And where is the young American President now?”
“We have no knowledge of his whereabouts, sir. He is in hiding.”
“Hiding?” Al-Akbar’s eyebrows arched toward the ceiling of the cave, and his normally expressionless face was close to registering hilarity. “From whom is he hiding? Robert Hornsby?”
“He has been removed from sight, sir. We suspect they took him to one of their nuclear installations.”
“Do they actually think we are in possession of nuclear weapons?”
“We believe it is a precaution on their part, sir.”
“Allah be praised!” Al-Akbar clapped his hands in glee. “This is beyond our imagining. Everything has gone off perfectly, with synchronized precision.”
“They will most certainly retaliate, sir.”
“Against whom?” asked Al-Akbar with contempt. “Our forces are safe. The loyalty of the warlords is secure, and they will not betray us.”
“We believe their most likely target will be the Dua Khamail. They will wage war against them and will surely defeat them. Then, they will restore Selim Hanjuk to power.”
“Let them have the Dua Khamail.” Al-Akbar shrugged. “To us, it matters not who is the ruler of Kabulistan. Any war they wage against the innocent population can only help us. It will bring more recruits to our side.”
“This is true.”
“One thing I will guarantee you. They may topple the government of Kabulistan, or all of the governments of the earth, but they will never be at peace again. As they fall off to sleep, they will see us in their nightmares.”
“Yes, sir. Our position is strong, and the Americans can only immerse themselves in quicksand by invading Kabulistan. They will never find us, much less defeat us.”
“Their memories are short,” mused Al-Akbar. “They forget that the Russians tried and failed. It was their Vietnam. And the Americans are far weaker than the Russians. They do not have the will for a prolonged conflict.”
“Let us not underestimate their military strength, sir.”
“These infidels are like the Crusaders of old.” Al-Akbar’s fingers worked prayer beads in the darkness of the cave. “They have many troops, they have excellent weapons, and they have knowledge of warfare. But they lack the fire of belief, as well as the support of their people. And they do not have Allah on their side.” He smiled approvingly at his lieutenant. “You have done well today. And soon we will do better still. Today is the beginning of the great Jihad. Nearly eight hundred years ago, the East was ruled by Saladin and the true believers were victorious. That day will come again.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In the realm of non-fiction, award-winning author Mark Spivak focuses on wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. His first book, Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, was published by Lyons Press in 2012. He followed this with Moonshine Nation (Lyons Press, 2014), hailed as the definitive book on illegal corn whiskey in America. From 1994-1999 he was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post, and was honored for excellence in wine criticism “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine & Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, and contributes to a number of national magazines. He is also the holder of the Certificate and Advanced Diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Mark’s first novel, Friend of the Devil, was published by Black Opal Books in May 2016. Set in Palm Beach in 1990, it tells the story of America’s most famous chef, who has sold his soul to the Devil for fame and fortune.
Mark also has an endless fascination with the American political system and is an avid follower of Washington politics. His second novel, The American Crusade (a gripping political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, which dips into the shadowy world of government conspiracy and political sabotage), will be released by TCK Publishing on April 4. He is currently at work on Impeachment, the sequel to The American Crusade.
Pre-order The American Crusade on Amazon:
Visit Mark's website at www.markspivakbooks.com, and sign up for his free newsletter and political blog: www.markspivakbooks.com/free
Topic: How would the Founding Fathers view the current political situation?
While most people would probably say they’d be horrified, the real question is why:
In 1776, there was no professional political class. The Founding Fathers were men who were successfully engaged in a range of real-life occupations. George Washington started his career as a surveyor, and later became a wealthy landowner; Benjamin Franklin was a printer, among other things, and Paul Revere was a silversmith.
When the need for a revolution occurred, it required a sacrifice on their part: They were forced to abandon their families and businesses to fight a war and found a nation. These men were patriots, citizens who served their country out of duty. They never dreamed of a situation where office holders would become the equivalent of highly-paid welfare recipients.
Because they lived in the real world, the Founding Fathers operated with common sense. They devised the system of checks and balances so that all three branches of government would be equal, and to avoid having one dominate the other. In doing so, of course, they were mindful of the monarchy they had just fought to overthrow, and they wanted to make certain that the government could not be ruled by a tyrant.
Thus, the next thing they never dreamed of was that their system of checks and balances would become a recipe for gridlock. They were aiming for fairness, for parity, for a sense of balance. They couldn’t have imagined a situation where the Executive and Legislative branches would fight to the death to prevent the other side from accomplishing anything, and where the loser would take their grievance to the courts.
Because they were citizens temporarily serving their nation, the Founding Fathers could also never anticipate that nearly 10% of the population would be working for the government (either state or federal), or that there would be twice as many government workers as manufacturing employees. They’d probably stunned by the bloated, inefficient Cabinet departments in Washington, D.C.
They would be quite startled by the fact that women are allowed to vote, along with non-members of the economic elite. In the early days of the republic, the right to vote was limited to landholders and wealthy individuals. When they look back at history, activists who complain about voter suppression should realize that the Founding Fathers invented the practice (and were much better at it than anyone in the present day).
On the positive side, regardless of any and all glitches in our current system, there’s little doubt the Founding Fathers would be proud of us. They’d likely be amazed that their experiment in democracy had lasted more than 200 years, and that—despite its problems—had mutated into one of the most egalitarian countries on the face of the earth.
The American Crusade
Author: Mark Spivak
Publisher: TCK Publishing
American release date: April 1, 2019
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Political Thriller/259 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★
The United States of America has suffered the unspeakable—a major terrorist assault on American shores, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, which has left some three thousand citizens dead, including the brave souls on an airliner who wrestled the terrorists for control of the plane but who still died tragically. Robert Hornsby is the vice-president to George Cane, the aw shucks president whose uncle previously held the office. Cane was away from the White House when the attack occurred. A quick-thinking Hornsby had him flown to safety and then took control of the situation, although he claimed that President Cane was directing operations from his command post in Cheyenne Mountain. The blame for this outrageous act is placed on an radical Muslim group called Husam al-Din. What the public doesn’t know is that the administration, including Hornsby, had had advance notice of the attacks.
The head of Husam al-Din is a terrorist named Salman al-Akbar. His current location is unknown, but he is believed to be hiding in a cave in the mountains of Kabulistan. Kabulistan is ruled by the Dua Khamail, although the extent of their allegiance to Husam al-Din is not known.
Hornsby’s aide, Scott Leventhal, approaches the vice-president with an explosive revelation—the administrative assistant to a congressman from Michigan, David Burnham, appears to be gay. And closeted. Which makes him vulnerable to blackmail. This is interesting information to have indeed. At the moment, they don’t see the US as being in a position to move against Husam al-Din strongholds in Kabulistan until the Dua Khamail are toppled and the former rulesr, Selim Hanjuk, is back in power. Meanwhile, intelligence indicates that the neighboring country of Sumeristan is stockpiling dangerous weapons, including chemical weapons and poisons. Military forces are diverted to deliver the people of Sumeristan from its brutal dictator and uphold the people’s right to a democracy.
But is this even the truth, or a ploy to invade Sumeristan?
People outside the inner circle are beginning to put things together, but will they be able to do anything with the knowledge? Who can be trusted in this all-too-familiar game of politics? Which side is the President on, or is he as much of a dupe as anyone else?
It’s not hard to see from the outset that The American Crusade is a thinly veiled retelling and imagining of 9/11, disguised as the May Day attack on the Mall of the Americas. George Cane is George Bush Jr and Hornsby is Dick Cheney. The former president, Bill Hampton, whose wife Bethany is the senator from New York isn’t hard to figure out either. Hornsby and his cronies ride roughshod over ethics and morals, doing what they perceive to be in the best interests of the country… or is it their own? Perhaps this is a testament to the corollary that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The terrorist in hiding is obviously the Ayatollah Khomeini, while the dictator Hornsby wishes to overthrow is Saddam Hussein, with the claim that he possesses weapons of mass destruction.
Although the story is based on history, this is an interesting take, and Hornsby is an interesting choice for the main focus of the book. He is ruthless to the nth degree and determined to get what he wants, no matter the price. Is this what really happened? I have no idea, but it’s as good a theory as any. Did the government possess foreknowledge of 9/11, much as they did the attack on Pearl Harbor years earlier?
Conservatives may not care for this tale, as their side does not come off particularly well. But the story is compelling, and I found myself very curious to see what would happen next. I would recommend it if you’re into political intrigue and seeing bad guys get their comeuppance.
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