Author: Elna Freeland
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication date: 11/28/2011
Type: Fiction, Metaphysical & Visionary
Characters: Seven, Thomas Gardner, Ray Kofi, Hermano, Ghost Bear, Mannie, Baby Rose
Ray's rating: 2 stars
This should be an important book of an important series, but it’s not. It is meant to be a truth-in-fiction book but it fails by not being good fiction. There is a story, but it’s presented only in spurts separated by long sections of exposition, usually about history. The result is a very disjointed, hard to follow, book.
There is insight here, I think, but it’s buried and the reader must dig to find it. From commentary I’ve read by the author, Elana Freeland, I believe she is trying to present an esoteric history of the US since the time of John Kennedy’s assassination. Being a child of the 1960s, that was a traumatic event for her (as it was for many, and it was a watershed event in the playing out of the twentieth century). It’s barely mentioned in this book, though, and I really don’t see much “history” being presented. What there is, seems to reach much further back than JFK.
The basic plot is this: an old woman (named, Seven; we’re not told why her name is a number) backpacks over the Oregon Trail in 2019 after an (apparent) EMP event has left the US electronically inoperable (mostly?) and under military rule. She is a sensitive and sees ghosts as she hikes (many from pioneer days) and listens to their stories. She is also dodging government forces who have designated her an “enemy of the state” (exactly why, is not clear).
That’s not a bad post-apocalypse plot, and it has potential. I especially like the device where Seven is a psychic sensitive and so picks up ghosts as traveling companions. In the course of her journey (this could have been a “journey” story, but Ms. Freeland never develops it that way), Seven flashbacks to her memories of people and events of the 1960s-1970s. There are interesting characters and situations presented in the flashbacks, for instance, Seven’s lover from that time is a tech genius who has built an inter-dimensional gateway in his mountain retreat/laboratory. He and Seven have several friends who contribute insight into the reality of things and into government operations (often from a native American viewpoint). There are also shades of government genetic experimenting via the story of separated twins who are apparently victims of an MK-ULTRA-type of program (Ms. Freeland is knowledgeable about MK-ULTRA and has, I believe, written about it). There is a part-African-American wannabe boyfriend of Seven’s who comes of age. And there’s a young girl who also seems to be a victim of government experimenting.
Now, Ms. Freeland handles many of her scenes very well, technically. She presents a dramatic arc, builds tension, etc. The problem is that the storytelling, overall, is broken up and never goes anywhere. Very often, I could not tell who the viewpoint character was, and the writing would lapse into long sections of exposition, losing what little there was of a plot thread.
For instance, there is a “pilgrimage to Dallas” that the characters undertook in the 1970s that Seven seems to place a lot of importance on, remembering it from 2019. It seems to have been an event that lead to much insight or something for her. In the flashbacks, we see the characters motivated by government pursuit to take that journey. They make preparations but the actual pilgrimage just disappears from the book. The event and its significance are lost in the narrative rambling.
I’m all for using fiction as a device to shed light on historical events, or for explaining current realities. For it to work, however, I think the author needs to follow the conventions of good storytelling, or else she will frustrate her readers. In my opinion, that’s the case here. For an example of it being done well, I recommend Whitley Strieber’s book, Majestic, that tells the Roswell UFO event as a fiction.
Ms. Freeland has shown in interviews, podcasts, and her other writings (especially Chemtrails, HAARP, and the Full Spectrum Dominance of Planet Earth) that she is very knowledgeable about the secret programs of our rulers. She is able to convey our complex reality in accessible language. Her Chemtrails, HAARP book, for instance, is a compelling description of the use of Tesla technology to make the earth a weapon via weather control and Directed Energy Weapons. Its power is in Ms. Freelands explanations matching what we’re seeing in the sky. Sub Rosa America and the Fall of the New Atlantis should perform a similar feat, but it doesn’t.
This book is the first in a series of five. I have not read the others. I probably won’t. It may be that Ms. Freeland’s storytelling improves in the other volumes. I hope that’s the case because I think she has some important truths to reveal. Those truths are lost, however, if the storytelling fails.