Revolution No. 9

Cult leader Freeboot views himself as a modern day socialist Robin Hood, who preaches of wealth distribution and a revolution of the downtrodden. Through Freeboot's explanation of how America's CEOs have financially and mentally bankrupted the nation's working and under classes, author Neil McMahon develops an intriguing, albeit homicidal protagonist.

When Freeboot's four-year-old son Mandrake becomes deathly ill, Dr. Carroll Monks is kidnapped and held prisoner in a remote mountain camp inhabited by Freeboot's vigilante/cult members, including Monks's son, Glenn. Monks diagnoses Mandrake with extreme diabetes. He struggles to keep him alive with stolen supplies and medications, and warns that without immediate hospitalization, Mandrake will die. When his plea is refused, Monks is torn between saving himself and upholding the Hippocratic Oath. Monks makes an emotional and daring escape, rescuing Mandrake, but leaving his own son behind. Once safely at home Monks, experiencing a pseudo-Stockholm syndrome, begins to understand, almost to sympathize with Freeboot and his cause, while conversely fearing retaliation from Freeboot and his followers.

When Monks learns of the latest in a series of gruesome murders targeting the wealthiest Americans across the country, he recognizes similarities in the crimes and realizes that Freeboot's cult is behind them. Monks cooperates with authorities in hopes of ending the terror, preventing a civil uprising, and saving his son.

In Revolution No. 9 McMahon is able to deliver suspense through well-developed characters and a thought-provoking plot. He manages to provide a rationale to seemingly irrational characters, and logic in highly emotional situations.