Novelist and polemicist Ramos y Sanchez, Cuban-born and a founding partner of BRC Marketing ad agency established in 1992, adds a volume of alternative history near the line of Harry Turtledove's treatment of the American Civil War or an alternative future. His public relations skills are skillfully employed here. The book is sectioned into two parts, the first being "The Rio Grande Incident," but it quickly shifts away from Texas and the greater part of the three-year plot continues in Los Angeles, California and elsewhere long before the second part begins as "The Quarantine and Relocation Act."
The first novel that comes to this reader's mind is Imperium in Imperio by Sutton Griggs published in 1899 wherein African Texans successfully establish a large chunk of
Beyond that, Ramos' characters, though still intended as issue bearers, are more believable than those of Griggs and Leiber. Ramos begins this work of Hispanic suppression and self-assertion by placing the volatile spark in
As the plot shifts to LA, the principal character Manolo Suarez,has a wife Rosa and children who serve to deepen his domestic qualities and offer moderation. Manolo is carefully lured into La Defensa del Pueblo organization by the rich, attractive, Uruguay-born Jo Herrera whose strident feminine character adds a sharper texture as she slides Mano into accepting violence as a necessary tactic.
Barrio Latinos respond with self-defense groups and rioting and the tit-for-tat violence scatters across the
Ramos' PR skills are asserted. On one occasion he uses a loud jackhammer as a necessary "device" to justify the characters almost screaming a conversation. He also deftly uses a fictional author to insert the old mythology of Spanish and Mexican control and ownership of the Southwest (much as it was a myth that the
In realism, Manolo confronts the plain task of keeping his job and his integrity as he transforms from patriotic American to protector of his newly rediscovered pueblo. And there's a critical choice. Is his family safer with him or in a "Relocation Camp" in
To no surprise, TV, radio, newspapers, the blog jocks, and other media fan the flames. The confrontation erupts into violence in
Despite the necessary bi-polar racism and sexism, readers will be pulled along with the characters' challenges and well dialogued lines. El Nuevo Alamo and