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Reviews - What do customers think about Dream of a Falling Eagle?
In which voodoo economics takes on a new meaning Jun 21, 2005
"You dream of some pastel, mythical country called the United States as you imagine it was forty or fifty years ago, a place that never really existed, and you pander to the prejudices of millions of people who share the same fantasy. The people who are trying to manipulate you dream of a falling eagle, a kind of fascist America where they're free to do just about any damn thing they please without fear of any embarrassing questions being asked by bothersome elected officials who suspect some of the pranks they pull may not really be in the best interests of national or global security. It's a game to them...a Great Game..." - Mongo Frederickson to politician, herein
DREAM OF A FALLING EAGLE opens in the same style that THE COLD SMELL OF SACRED STONE did, and reads as though it's picking up in the middle of the previous book's cliffhanger and continuing the previous book's story. Here, though, that's not the case; the previous book had nothing to do with DREAM's plot.
DREAM picks up in mid-stanza, as it were, with Mongo and Garth already in mid-investigation for a Presidential Commission that's looking into the question of reorganizing, if not abolishing, the CIA's Operations Directorate. Consequently, the book contains a lot of exposition explaining the story so far, which is a pity because the background sounds as though it would've been interesting - particularly how the Frederickson brothers managed to dig up the information without being killed.
Part of the effect is achieved not by excellence in telling this story but in depending on the quality of suspense stories by quite different writers. Much of DREAM's backstory is supplied simply by saying that, like the plot in the TV series THE PRISONER, the CIA maintained its own "village" for on-the-shelf agents, whether retired or untrustworthy - in this case, supposedly in Haiti. DREAM's conclusion, at the opposite end of the book, seems like an uncredited ripoff of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (the original novel).
One good scene, introducing a more active subplot and (of course) ultimately connected investigation involves a sanitation worker who's an ex-con and freelance poet, who wants the Fredericksons to find out who's been plagiarizing his work in literary journals. Garth pushes Mongo to take the case on the grounds that they can help Thomas Dickens, while their efforts at cleaning up the CIA seem unlikely to have a long-term effect. Unfortunately, that plot doesn't get enough development to make the story a more active investigation.
Points of interest: - Lots of dead bodies, many of which are "voodoo ritual murders". - Zombies. - Torture. - Insignificant involvement of significant others, despite dealing with very unscrupulous opponents and throwing in a far-too-rushed appearance of both Mary and Harper in the epilogue. - Increased use of Francisco, Mongo's assistant at Frederickson & Frederickson. - Insufficient use of Mongo's intelligence connections (one of whom was Director of Operations only a few books back). - Insufficient tie-ins with THE LANGUAGE OF CANNIBALS, which makes DREAM sound like an isolated diatribe against the evils of the CIA, disconnected from narrative reality.