It’s not uncommon to see fictional political heroes portrayed as populist figures who stand for the people and against the establishment, fighting corruption and bucking the system in order to usher in a brighter future for the American people. What’s rare, though, is for those characters to stand for conservative values—as if the liberal philosophy is the only force for good in the world today.
But in his new novel The Liberty Intrigue, author Tom Grace deviates from the trend and serves up a fiercely entertaining political thriller featuring a conservative champion who stands for the principles on which America was founded.
The setting for Grace’s book is not too dissimilar from the world we know, and its political landscape is quite recognizable to even a casual observer of modern-day politics in America.
The story begins in war-torn Africa, where a fledgling democracy is struggling to maintain its autonomy in the face of a neighboring warlord bent on raping the country of its resources. It is from the fires of this conflict that Grace’s hero is born—an American patriot with an undying devotion to his country, an understanding of the Constitution, and the ideal that liberty is not a gift from government but a natural right that belongs to all humankind.
From there, Grace’s story pivots to a U.S. presidential primary battle in which conservatives are searching for a proverbial white knight to take on the sitting liberal President who has the support of the fawning mainstream media and entrenched labor unions. Their desperation for a new direction is fueled by an economic and fiscal crisis ripped right from today’s headlines—sky-high deficits, out-of-control government spending, millions of unemployed Americans, calls from the left for higher taxes, and a progressive President wedded to failed Keynesian economic theory.
The parallels to today are no doubt deliberate, allowing Grace to use archetypes the reader knows so he can give timely, direct commentary on America’s challenges, just as Ayn Rand voiced her objectivist philosophy through works like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in the 1940s and ‘50s. Grace’s philosophy is an unabashedly conservative one, and his words are informed by thorough research and a rock-solid understanding of America’s challenges, the policy prescriptions advocated by the left, and conservative solutions from the right.
The contrast between the two is presented in stark relief by way of a series of presidential debates in which Grace articulates the central conflict between political ideologies that underlies modern American politics—on the left hand, a movement for government intervention in the marketplace and a massive expansion of the state, and on the right hand, a return to the ideals of liberty, limited government, free markets, and individualism that made America great.
But Grace’s achievement is not just in capturing the zeitgeist of the day, though his novel certainly succeeds as a relevant and timely political commentary. Much more than that, he has crafted a compelling, fast-paced, wide-ranging political thriller with gripping twists and turns, high-tech schemes, dastardly corruption, and murder.
The delight of reading The Liberty Intrigue is that woven through this political thriller is an intelligent articulation of the conservative philosophy and that holding the pen is an author who understands that the real miracle of the American experiment is a love of liberty that can be found even in the farthest corners of our world.
At a recent appearance at The Heritage Foundation, Grace spoke of his challenges in bringing The Liberty Intrigue to readers—namely, that editors refused to take on a project in which the main character is a conservative. As Grace explained, publishers “don’t mind taking money from conservatives; they just don’t want to have their name brand sullied by their connection with a conservative writer.” Fortunately, that didn’t stop Grace, and his words made it to the printed page for all to enjoy.
Tom Grace’s The Liberty Intrigue is available online at Amazon.com.