Item description for When the Swan's Neck Breaks by Marilyn Macgruder Barnewall...
Overview Dr. Aleksandr Plotnikov's thoughts are not always pleasant. His actions make him ill. His moral compass forces him to question his atheist upbringing, Marxist ideology, and communist training. He is at war with the worst possible enemy: Himself. He is guilty of the worst possible sin. cloning people.
Publishers Description Dr. Aleksandr Plotnikov's thoughts are not always pleasant. His actions make him ill. His moral compass forces him to question his atheist upbringing, Marxist ideology, and communist training. He is at war with the worst possible enemy: Himself. He is guilty of the worst possible sin. cloning people. It began in the 1970s. The story is spellbinding as it weaves its way through webs of a newly-learned faith in God and the grace of forgiveness it offers. Swan's Neck takes readers through a plot of international intrigue, truth, and love. Four key political figures are held captive in Russia while their Soviet-trained clones replace them. Plotnikov escapes the U.S.S.R. and, once in America, is driven to free the men he cloned and restore them to their positions of influence. Former CIA agent Jake McGregor and bank consultant Meredith Morgan join Plotnikov in his heroic effort to save America's free market system and capitalist economy. Barnewall has created a hard-hitting, realistic view of America's financial problems in this work of fiction, pointing to freedom's need for faith and truth to survive. Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind, much like an artist wields a brush. Until recently, she wrote non-fiction exclusively for the banking industry. Her work is listed in the Oxford and Cambridge University libraries in Great Britain. In June, 1989, Forbes dubbed Barnewall the "Dean of American private banking." She has consulted for and given speeches to bankers around the world. Who better to write a book about America's central banking system, fiat currency, and fractional-reserve banking. and, espionage?
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Reviews - What do customers think about When the Swan's Neck Breaks?
Swan's Neck is Outstanding Aug 14, 2008
Though not a novice to publishing, Marilyn Barnewall's first offering in the genre of fiction is impressive, but even more than that, it comes across as a labor of love, dedication, and consecration to a philosophy of life. From the banking world to the world of human relations and serious action, it seems that Barnewall has made the jump and landed well on her feet. In the Author's Foreword, she writes: "When the Swan's Neck Breaks was written to... "...celebrate things of which we see too little these days: truth, common sense, personal commitment, responsibility, and honor." Barnewall has not neglected her own powerful philosophy and strong Christian beliefs in this book. Swan's Neck is a mélange of skillfully woven story lines that range from major international maneuvering, sinister conspiratorial manipulations by nations, to even more intriguing covert international banking strategies. The objective: Establish a one-world (Socialist/Communist) government. Barnewall navigates all of these twists and turns with a rare finesse.
Part of the "confessional" labor for the author is self examination. The vehicle she uses is her characters. The plot and story lines weave in and out of the psyche of the protagonists, and include very real doubts, fears, loves and disappointments for each of her characters. If she has indulged too much in fleshing out the story, it is perhaps in this area. I am a longtime reader of Ayn Rand. I started out with her fiction and gravitated to her more contemporary writings. Barnewall shows that she has been influenced by both Rand's presentation of philosophy and Rand's development of "heroic" and "dastardly" characters. I think that where Rand wrote to express her philosophy (and her characters were often somewhat wooden), Barnewall makes her philosophical view emanate from the dilemmas and crises, individual and global, in which she puts her characters. It is then that they articulate and then apply the philosophy of life that Barnewall wants to leave with us. This is done in an excellent weaving of some very complicated and deep plots and conspiracies against both them and their values. A brilliant Russian scientist, Alexandr Plotnikov, an ex-CIA operative, Jake McGregor, and Meridith Morgan, a woman successful in the fields of finance and banking. These are the primary characters. All are approaching middle age or more and are disenchanted with the national and international events by which they are surrounded. Each, in his or her own way, finally becomes compelled by beliefs to act. The plot brings Plotnikov and McGregor together in an accidental meeting that is fortuitous for both. It sets the course of the story. Through breakthrough genetic research in the mid-1970s, Plotnikov has been instrumental in cloning individual humans. The Soviets decide to make great political use of his discoveries. McGregor discovers from Plotnikov the extent of Soviet complicity, and helps the Russian scientist escape from exile on Sakhalin Island, in the Eastern USSR. The story brings the three together and they discover a commonality of the love of country and truth. They also put together the pieces of an international intrigue that is set to change the world. Morgan enters the story by accident when she receives an envelope from a friend who was murdered. What is in the envelope carries the key clue to a major conspiracy. McGregor happens upon a plot against Morgan and spirits her away. The story then proceeds at a rapid pace. A story of this proportion must be carried on a story line that includes believable people. These people must possess "special" reasons to be in the cast. The author clearly outlines, little by little, how important each character is to the success of the final effort. The story of how they foil this conspiracy is fast-paced, shows a lot of research and an ability on the part of the author to keep track of her characters - whether in motion or standing still - through the corridors of their unfolding plan. With access to considerable resources, both financial and intelligence, the three manage to save each others' lives, establish firm and confident ties with one another, and build a team that goes about putting things right. In the center of this whirlwind of events, the writer makes time to define political and banking concepts. The three characters discuss the whys and wherefores of philosophical epistemology. Through their discussions, they develop confidence in one another. That confidence makes believable the idea that these three people can rescue the United States and the free world from a collectivist union of global proportions. Obviously, secrecy and security play a large part in this story. To her credit, Marilyn Barnewall has created an entertaining and suspenseful scenario without the typical gratuitous violence that characterizes so many of the genre today. Likewise, she is insistent that the values and terms she supports play a major role in how decisions are made in the resolution. The book has a number of levels that are constantly in the state of interplay - from espionage tradecraft to human emotion to science. The complexity of both air and ground travel in modern times plays a key role, both in planning and executing the final play to bring down the conspiracy in a bloodless and artful way. A large-scale challenge for the author was to get her characters into her plot and introduce them to readers as believable people, using a minimum of "back story." Because of the complexity of this plot, it was an absolute necessity. She manages to feed us the facts in small enough doses that we come to know Alex, Jake, Meredith, et al, well enough so at appropriate points in the story we understand what they are up to and why. One device used is meditative thought in the characters' minds. Another is their "briefings" at Alex's Colorado ranch. These are overview of how the three protagonists plan to return the Real Things to office. At several points, they do cause minor stutters in the story flow. From my perspective, the information gained is well worth the stutter. A second and important level is her ability to allow readers into the minds of her characters. We understand each character's reasons for dedication to the project. Their initial doubts are resolved by concrete answers on a metaphysical level. Her tool for this is the series of discussion presentations by each character. These discussions proceed to closely define the actual conspiracy, the danger it represents, and its foundation. From Marx and Engels to Gramsci, she walks her characters through sufficient information to understand the emerging problems that make up the plot. Readers benefit from the discourses as well. Many of the points made in the presentations by the primary characters are those many Americans today do not well understand or grasp in nature and content. For a first attempt at fiction, Barnewall has done well, and the lapses to education of the characters (for the benefit of the reader) are just about right. They do not drag. Of course, the finance and banking aspects are this writer's forte, and she uses her Meredith Morgan character to educate us on what current events in the banking and currency worlds can and may well mean to Americans now and in the future. Woven through the story is the metamorphosis of the characters who, literally before our eyes, transpose their thoughts and feelings into direct action. The cooperation of three with such different backgrounds is, when Barnewall puts it to us, almost a natural evolution. That in itself speaks well of her grounding in research and human nature. Swan's Neck is an entertaining read, and suitable for young teenagers, though the plot and story line development require "adult-level" concentration, on "what" is happening, "why" it is happening, and the reason why the protagonists cannot allow the conspiracy to globalize the world to succeed. The rest would be telling. I leave it to prospective readers to find out. One very laudable aspect of this book is its avoidance of gratuitous violence and sex. Swan's Neck is an interesting and entertaining synergy between action novel and social commentary. This type of work is useful, educational and entertaining at the same time. It exposes interaction between persons in a fascinating and very human way without being maudlin or overly dramatic. It leaves us with a question for each of us: All other things being equal, would any of us have the courage to face a challenge of this magnitude involving sinister and very powerful conspirators, whose agenda might well mean the end of freedom as we know it? Barnewall's answer is not evident, nor need it be. The ending gives closure of the immediate without finality and indicates there is yet more to come. I, for one, hope so.
A look behind the Wizard's curtain Aug 11, 2008
When the Swan's Neck Breaks is an excellent first work of fiction by an author who normally writes nonfiction. She is a banking expert who single-handedly created a field of banking that specializes in funding entrepreneurial activities, and she was a consultant to many of the biggest and best-known banks around the world until her early retirement in 1992. Her technical books sold (and sold well) within the banking industry for up to $5,000 a copy.
Thus, it is with considerable expertise that she tells a story about the world financial system. The debacle that is currently unfolding on our TV screens each night is one she began writing about years ago. And even her work on Swan's Neck began well before the present economic crisis.
Her basic premise is that national policy as counterproductive and dangerous as ours could only have been produced by our enemies. She therefore writes responsibility for it into the hands of highly placed Russian agents who were implanted in the U.S. during the Soviet era. They continue to make U.S. policy, or promote it through the media, well after the fall of the Soviet Union. The result of their actions is a fiscal policy that systematically and inexorably erodes the sovereignty of the U.S., turning its wealth and freedom over to its enemies.
Opposing these agents is an eclectic crew of overachievers: a brilliant and repentant Russian scientist who helped "create" the implanted agents, an ex-CIA man who befriends him, and a banking expert reminiscent of the author herself. Together, they plot how to replace the agents with the loyal Americans the agents supplanted - all without anyone knowing about it. The book features high intrigue, international action, and great storytelling - all the while educating the reader about some of the true insanities that characterize our American financial policy.
The timeliness of the book could hardly be better. Bank runs, financial institution failures, rampant inflation, and the collapse of the dollar all tell us that something is desperately wrong with our financial system. If you want to know what that "something" is, and you're not getting the story from your newspaper or TV station, this is the place to go. You'll understand more than 95% of Americans about the destructive decisions that have led us to this present crisis. And you'll gain that understanding by reading a story you'll enjoy immensely.
When The Swan's Neck Breaks Aug 7, 2008
Author weaves together the woes of our current currency melt down with spine tingling espionage. If you enjoy Ann Rand books, you will absolutely love "When The Swan's Neck Breaks". Ms. Barnewll has used her knowledge of banking in writing this fiction to alerts readers of what may happen -- or is currently happening in our finance industry. I consider this a MUST read docu-fiction, it has it all.
When the Swan's Neck Breaks Aug 6, 2008
Great read. The author has not only written a book full of suspense but also includes a good look at the United States financial system and the myriad of issues that can influence the value of our currency. .....and in the end good wins over evil. I highly recommend the book for leisure reading but also as a learning experience.