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  • James Walton Book Review

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    Book Review: “The Men who Built the End” by James Walton

     

    The setting is in the modern-day eastern US. A shadowy group of men plot the downfall of the country, each one of them from different backgrounds, motivated by different reasons. They are specialists in their respective fields – the Military, Intelligence, Technology, Business, Science – all tasked with specific roles in bringing America to its knees. They have been employed by a cabal of powerful backers who seek to exploit the aftermath and chaos of the country’s disintegration, and replace the current ruling structure with one of their own, undeclared, design. The men tasked with this job have the time-frame in place, and are preparing to put their plans in motion when the unexpected happens – a devastating attack on Washington DC and several other major cities across the country plunge the nation into chaos far ahead of their carefully controlled designs. Suddenly as the hunters become the hunted, and a betrayal from within decimates their ranks, one man, Marshon Battle, finds redemption and struggles to save his family from the coming storm. He joins forces with the one hope for America’s salvation- the rag-tag state militias who have been preparing for just such a day, led by an enigmatic figure whose alias is simply “Veritas”. Together, they must face off with the man who betrayed his fellow traitors, who now heads the invasion forces poised on the brink of taking over what remains of the United States.

     

    I found the premise of this book to be intriguing. Setting the book from the antagonists’ perspective is certainly a bold move, and to be effective needs to make the reader almost sympathize with the villain(s) in the story. Almost. If done right, it allows for a much more nuanced approach to the conflict beyond a simple dualistic struggle between good and evil. In my opinion, Walton did a fairly good job of this, making you see the events from the perspective of the men who plotted America’s downfall, in some cases perhaps making you agree with some of their sentiments, if not their actions. The author avoided the pitfalls of exploiting cultural stereotypes, (the middle-eastern terrorist, the overly hostile black man, etc) and takes a more subtle approach in developing his characters. The plot holds together well enough, though the critical moment which turns Marshon Battle in the story from antagonist to hero is rather weak and unconvincing.

     

    Unfortunately, Walton’s story is crippled with grammatical, spelling, and punctuational errors, making some parts almost unintelligible. I had to re-read several pages over multiple times in order to understand what was being said. It seems at times as if someone cut the page up into strips and threw them in the air, reassembling them from what fell to the ground first.

     

    Other problematic points include the rather undeveloped “good guy” character, Veritas – who is not half as interesting as the antagonists; the spectacularly underwhelming anti-climactic ending that takes only 20 pages to describe the ultimate showdown between the militia forces defending American freedoms and the 3 companies of elite mercenaries; and the incredibly weak mastermind leading the mercenaries, who is supposed to be the wunderkind of his generation, but can’t even properly operate a machine gun and gets ingloriously shot from behind while pursuing his vendetta against Marshon in the heat of battle (no pun intended).

     

    In all, the book holds a lot of potential. With further development, and some dedicated editing, it could be shaped into a really good book. As it is, I would classify this book as a diamond in the very, very rough.

     

    If you would like to read “The Men Who Built the End” for yourself, you can find it on Amazon:

     

     

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