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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


By Eric L. Harry
Jove Books, 567 pp, 2000

This novel deals with the unthinkable: a Communist invasion of America. Only it's not the Russians, but the Chinese. 

How did China get so strong? Harry explains early in the book. The Chinese had become heavily involved in the Vietnam War, and never stopped fighting. Backed by an endless supply of soldiers, its army conquered Japan, India and the Middle East. It then took on a united European Union in a massive naval battle. The Europeans were holding their own until an unknown Chinese fleet arrived and routed Europe's navy. The army then swept in over land, engulfing Greece, Italy, and Germany with little trouble. The whole of Europe was now under Chinese domination.

Somehow, China had managed to create a missile that knocked out military satellites. So Europe and even America were blind from the air, and instead had to rely on human intelligence. That was how China was able to sneak an entire fleet into its battle with Europe. 

China now turned its attention on the Western Hemisphere, easily routing the Caribbean and South American nations. Only America was left.

But what was the United States doing while China conquered the world? Nothing. Its president and majority in Congress were isolationists, and never lifted a finger to help. Fourteen American attack submarines were ordered not to attack as that surprise Chinese fleet passed overhead. 

Why am I spending so much time on the book's premise? Because it is simply too implausible. This never would have happened. The U.S., isolationist or not, would never allow China or any other nation to conquer Japan, India, and Middle East, much less Europe. And Harry never mentions the Russians? What were they doing while their southern neighbor took over the earth? Just hanging out and hoping for the best?

This almost ruined the book for me, but I soldiered on. Luckily, it gets better. A newly elected and former senator President Baker persuades Congress to declare war on China. His own daughter signs up as a combat infantryman. A Green Beret wreaks havoc behind enemy lines. And a mysterious, shadowy group who wants Baker to use nuclear bombs plots a coup. 

Throw in some high-level political maneuvering and shenanigans between China's military and political leadership, and you've got a decent novel.

If you can swallow its impossible premise.

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