Follow Here To Purchase Forty Days at Kamas

Author: Preston Fleming


The year is 2024. The U.S. has been taken over by the Unionist Party who’ve created a totalitarian dystopia. In order to control their “one class” society, the Unionist have fought wars with China, Canada, and Mexico and placed brutal restrictions on American citizens. It’s a crime to want to emigrate, to refuse the most minor of requests from government officials, to complain, in short, to take any action that can be construed as disruptive to the good of the state.

In the years before this takeover, Paul Wagner owned a small vitamin factory who hopes he’ll be able to withstand the economic downfall crippling U.S. industry. However, when he loses everything and tries to emigrate to England with his wife and two daughters, he’s tossed into a harsh labor camp for treason. There, he doesn’t know the fate of his family and discovers he’s but one of many innocent “politicos” in a prison from which death is the only apparent release.

Author Preston Fleming develops the story of the Wagners with two paralleled plots. In one, Paul Wagner quickly learns about the tortures of his new living conditions in overcrowded barracks with minimal rations and no comforts, endures hard days working on recycling projects, and observes the wariness of the inmates towards both their bosses and the informers in their midst. Wagner is slowly drawn into prisoner revolts that are first short, futile strikes to seek better conditions before the bloody 40 day rebellion that few expect to survive. At the same time, 12 year old Claire Wagner, also unaware of where the rest of her family has been taken, becomes a servant in the home of the camp’s Deputy Warden. Through these two perspectives, we learn about the tensions heating up in the summer of 2024 and how, ultimately, the paths of the Wagners may cross again.

Inspired by the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Preston Fleming masterfully paints his grim landscape with believable detail and vivid characters, even if most of the supporting players’ back-stories are thinly sketched. Then again, inmates, warders, and government officials alike are familiar types who are either already de-humanized or are resisting the forces that would crush their human spirit. Whether former veterans of the military or a college student who simply refused to rake leaves for a school administrator, the inmates are told they are now mere numbers who share common fates. What matters is the present. Some will find inner resourcefulness, intelligence, courage, and fortitude to reclaim but a moment of their lost freedoms. Others will succumb to broken bodies, despair, suicide, thuggery, bureaucratic indifference. Largely told in the first person, an omniscient view isn’t really necessary. We’re told little about how the Unionist Party came to power and how they operate, but we get enough information to show what they want and believe. To nail his themes down, each of Fleming’s chapters open with a quote from one of history’s most notorious dictators or observant writers to demonstrate—all of this has happened before.

Is this novel a warning? Perhaps not in the specifics, but it’s hard not to put this book down and ponder. Could it happen here?    Perhaps the real question is—why couldn’t it?

Follow Here To Purchase Forty Days at Kamas