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Richard A. Friar

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The Keepers: Part One: WWIII
by Richard A. Friar   

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Science Fiction

Publisher:  Infinite Conception Phaze Type: 


Copyright:  May 2007 ISBN-13:  9780979691508

Barnes &
The Keepers Trilogy

WWIII is that rarest of sci-fi creations: a hugely innovative tale both smart and entertaining. Colossal effort and colossal fun. (Kirkus Discoveries)

WWIII details the events leading up to the Third World War and the chaos that ensues.  Geiseric, leader of the Apex Empire, has a Utopian vision for the world and the influence to see it through.  He begins an ideological movement called Isaiism, based off the Prophet Isaiah's notion that the world will see a time when violence will be eradicated, and the lion will lay down next to the lamb. But Geiseric is willing to achieve this state by any means necessary, including waging a violent war.  With the development of the Animalian Project battlemachines, Geiseric’s goal is fool proof.

Professional Reviews
Richard Friar’s new book, The Keepers is an eerie, monumental (650 page) novel portraying the rise of a fourth Reich in Germany and the start of WWIII beginning in the 2030s, the third decade of the 21st century: a mere 22 years away. The new Hitler, Geiseric, seeks to transform earth into a highly controlled master utopia modeled on Aristotle’s great classic Plato’s Republic. His new society is based on Isaiaism, a pseudo religion of which he is the Messiah.
Friar skillfully blends history, and social theory with scientific imagining to portray the rise of the new republic, which has been planned down to the tiniest details. Social transformation, expansionist diplomacy and a war of conquest fought with fantastic new weaponry all unfold simultaneously. The new society being planned has both profound similarities and significant differences with Hitler’s third Reich. Nationalist propaganda, in the tradition of Leni Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will (a film commissioned by Hitler to glorify the Third Reich) is used effectively by Geiseric to begin the expansion of a new German empire. Although the regime is as ruthless as its predecessors, it is not anti-Semitic. Geiseric chooses to recruit Israel and exploit Jewish talent instead of engaging in Jewish genocide. His “new republic” is vegetarian (Vegan) and highly paternalistic, ruling the conquered slave population through propaganda, ample life amenities, and a drink called “ambrosia.”

The most ingenious (and in some ways most disturbing) element of the book is the evolution and use of new classes of super weapons developed by the new regime. Geiseric’s regime, the Apex, employs high tech bio-mimicry to create war chariots that hover like humming birds, ships that move like sea creatures and tanks that gallop on all fours. The Juggernaut, a giant tentacle machine ravages the coasts of resisting nations. Geiseric’s armored warriors look much like ancient knights as they cruise above battlefields in airborne Kolibri war chariots. All the war technology is lavishly illustrated in a high sci-fi style that will appeal to military science fiction fans.
Although the 2030s seems a little early for these fantastic technologies to be operative, it is possible that the author did not want to make the Fourth Reich too distantly removed from the Third—severing some of the historical causality that might have been more problematic if he had placed the action in, say, the 2090s. The timeline of The Keepers follows the new empire from its early acquisition of Austria to its successful conquest of the United States, and the retreat of the American and British forces to Mars and the moon, leaving only a small underground movement behind. As Geiseric enlarges his empire, subverting and outwitting the allies at every turn, the reader is treated to a lavish spectacle that is fascinating, overwhelming, and somewhat alienating—as if one is watching important events from a great height at which individuals seem insignificant. While he does trace the lives of one small group of conquered people throughout the period of conquest, they seem like tiny pieces of flotsam in a tsunami, with no power to change or influence their destinies.
If there is a weakness in the logic of Geiseric’s conquest, it is that it is hard to see where the resources for all these rapid worldwide conquests come from. Even as Geiseric usurps the assets of conquered lands, it is difficult to understand how he could mobilize and redirect these resources swiftly enough to facilitate his rapid world conquest, which takes far less time, than say, the conquests of Alexander the Great. Even Hitler’s panzers moved more rapidly than the system that manufactured and supplied them. That said, The Keepers is a pretty impressive piece of speculative fiction—written plausibly, dramatically and comprehensively in prose that is better than one often finds in books of this kind. If speculative future history and hard military science fiction appeal to you, this is a book you are sure to enjoy.

Kirkus Discoveries
First installment of an ambitious sci-fi trilogy plays out global warfare in the not-too-distant future. The wieldy initial volume in Friar’s complex and, thus far, engaging trilogy is epic not only in its breadth—weighing in at nearly 700 pages—but in the scope of its inventiveness. The author tackles a mix of current environmental, social and economic trends, playing out how they might converge in the future. Friar’s clairvoyant vision, however, isn’t for the faint of heart: A new empire arises, with powerful tyrannical urges that lead to an all-consuming and almost gruesomely prophetic third World War.

The year is 2039, and the wildly ambitious German ruler Geiseric and his henchmen, “the principles,” have—in Hitlerian fashion—taken over Central Europe and threaten to parlay their successes into world domination. Friar uses the first two World Wars as the template for his fictional third and, in spite of its eerie familiarity, the plot remains rich with suspense. Book one of this series concerns itself with the efforts of a new group of Allied powers that attempt to drive Geiseric back and stymie his ruthless imperialism.

WWIII is that rarest of sci-fi creations: a hugely innovative tale both smart and entertaining. Friar takes on a smorgasbord of arcane topics—from Platonic philosophy to the science of biomimicry—and makes them not only comprehensible but relevant. Such intellectual tangents might prove tedious fare in the hands of a less skilled author, but here supply the novel with depth and texture that will only enhance the reader’s experience. Friar’s characters are lavishly imagined and his painstakingly crafted observations of human relationships provide a nice balance to the book’s scientific and military content. Despite the wide compass of his novel, Friar has an eye for the intimate; he’s as good as evoking artisan-like detail as he is at developing imaginative histories. Colossal effort and colossal fun.

Sci-fi lists- best of Sci-fi
Richard Friar's The Keepers is sure to please.

Set just over two decades from now the new Hitler is a messiah figure named Geiseric. He takes Germany down the path of a utopian dictatorship based on Plato's Republic, enslaving the conquered and keeping them in check with benevolence.

In the face of the high-tech superweapons of the Apex even the United States has little hope as World War III ravages the planet. As with conquered France in WWII, a small but highly-skilled underground resistance movement carries on the fight.

Friar dazzles readers with big battles and saucy science, all driven by an astute sense of history and human motivation. Given the pace of Geiseric's blitzkrieg one suspects that the chinks in his armour might begin to show in the next eagerly anticipated volume.

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