Review: Heroes Proved

What will the world be like in twenty years? A mess, you’ll say. But will it be as big a mess as having a nuclear ayatollah in Tehran, a Caliph ruling Jerusalem, and a Mafia-style president in the Oval Office?

Heroes Proved is Oliver North’s fourth military thriller. I began it directly after reading a dystopian novel called Swipe, and I soon came to feel I had gone from one dystopian novel to another. If a team of conservatives were to construct their perfect nightmare, it would look much like the America, and world, of Heroes Proved.

This book cuts across many genres: Primarily an action novel, but also a techno-thriller with a dystopian slant and social commentary. A religious element is peppered, plain and unashamed, throughout the narrative. Alongside it, there is a thick strand of political intrigue. The president, though often appearing, is never named; in Oliver North’s books, the president is mentioned frequently, but never by name.

But the president in Mission Compromised who loathed the military, pulled out of Somalia, and ran a chronically disorganized White House was a lot like Bill Clinton. The president in Assassins who was as punctual as a Marine, known for his time in the gym, who had a Defense secretary named Dan and a political advisor named Carl Rose – well, that wasn’t hard to figure out.

In Heroes Proved, the “Madam President” whose husband was president before her, who was often rude or demeaning to staff, with a subordinate named Vic Foster who suffered an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head – she is … Hillary Clinton, in an alternative universe.

Much of the interest and even fun of Heroes Proved is in tracing the connections to real life. The book may be properly labeled speculative. It is always asking, “What if, in the future …” What if America repressed free speech in the name of tolerance and fairness? What if Iran goes nuclear? What if a new Caliphate is established?

All these projections of current events are interesting. Noticing that Larry Walsh, the Madam President’s corrupt counsel, was also the name of the special prosecutor in the Iran-contra scandal is merely fun.

Considered on its proficiency as a novel, Heroes Proved would be marked a few demerits. The dialogue is not always entirely believable. The prose, although cleanly written and efficient to its purpose, has little beauty. (But then, does anyone read military thrillers for literary beauty?) The hero’s journey is started but never properly finished.

Even so, Heroes Proved is an exciting book and, what’s more, a fascinating one. It engages the heart as well as the head, and it does show us heroes proved.