The back cover of Fool’s Republic has the novel's genre described as Fiction/Political Thriller/Mystery. I agree with those categories but I think one was left something out: intellectual thriller. A good part of the narrative of Fool's Republic is taken up with hints and clues about the crime the protagonist has supposedly committed but he does not admit to. The author dances around the charges against Simon Wyley so that the reader is never sure what transgression he is guilty of - only that is must be very bad. The protagonist’s wry sense of humor in the face of dire physical and mental conditions gave me a sense of relief. I liked Simon very much and rooted for him to survive. The story of Simon’s situation are told through a series of flashbacks giving details about his life and the circumstances which lead him into trouble.
When I saw the front cover of this book I was a bit leery. It’s mostly white with a barbed wire fence depicted on the lower half. For some reason, this cover reminds me of self-published books but I can’t say exactly why. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading it however. It’s well-written and suspenseful which, for a thriller fan, is key. But I’d go farther than that – I’d say this is a sophisticated thriller – not the run-of-the-mill, read something like it a hundred times before story. This was different in that it was about an average guy in extraordinary circumstances.
I went to Gordon W. Dale’s website and started reading his current work-in-progess, What We Remember, and though quite different from Fool’s Republic, I found it to have the same high quality writing and the story had me engrossed right from the start.
I am very pleased to have discovered this new-to-me author. For anyone who enjoys thrillers and just plain good writing, I highly recommend Fool’s Republic.