Author: Preston Fleming

Publisher: PF Publishing (April 20, 2014)


Tell me, Warren, are you a poker player?” he asked.

Linder shook his head. “Not my game. I played a bit in

college but gave it up. Why?”

I used to play quite a bit,” Moran continued. “But

one day I picked up a book called Poker: A Guaranteed

Income for Life. At the book’s end, after the author has

revealed his secrets about how to manipulate other players’

weaknesses to take their money, he writes that a good

player ends up being the biggest loser at poker. Because to

win, the good poker player has to surround himself with

people who regularly default on the use of their minds

instead of people he might come to respect and enjoy. So,

the true cost of winning at poker is that you sacrifice

irreplaceable chunks of your life catering to the self-

destructive needs of neurotic losers. Now, doesn’t that

sound just a bit like what a case officer does?”

Warren Linder, an intelligence officer who has indeed been spending time with disreputable people he doesn't respect, is the central character in the final entry in Preston Fleming's "Kamas Trilogy." The previous novels, 40 Days at Kamas and Star Chamber Brotherhood, presented slices of a dystopian America ruled by a tyrannical President-for-Life in a world where "Unionism" has destroyed freedom in the U.S. Exile Hunter is another perspective set in 2023 when former CIA agent Linder is co-opted by the President's new intelligence service whose mission is to seek out dissidents and root out

Rebellion in the aftermath of the second Civil War.

However, Linder finds himself scapegoated for a failed mission and becomes an enemy of the state himself, sentenced to life in an Alaskan hard labor camp. There, Linder discovers his will to survive has also ignited his drive to redeem himself for his past misdeeds. He joins a group who successfully escape from the camp, and survives a 2,000 mile trek to fulfill a promise he made in his prison's hospital. But his mission, of course, doesn't end quite like he hoped.

As with all of Preston Fleming's previous books, Exile Hunter weaves together the harsh realities of personal betrayal, physical torment, emotional pain, and a spiritual quest with astute intelligence. As is typical with Fleming stories, external conflicts rage around the main characters with brutal violence, but there's always internal moral quandaries and choices as well. Like Fleming's "Beirut Trilogy" and the Kamas books, the vivid descriptions of circumstances and characters are more than believable, and the reader is challenged to keep up with events. For one key matter, we only learn about this alternative earth history in snatches and flashbacks that don't fully explain everything that lead America to this crisis. That's part of the point—most of the participants only know pieces of the puzzle themselves.

So Exile Hunter isn't a stand-alone read, but it's as good as any of the previous novels to start with as it is set chronologically before the events in the other two books. Don't be thrown by early references to a history you don't know anything about—like Warren Linder, plunge ahead and you'll be pulled along in this cautionary tale.

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