In the North American Confederacy . . .
People are free--really free. Free to do as they please, whether it be starting a business, running for elected office, or taking target practice in the back forty. There's not a whole lot of government, nor is there a lot of crime, because everyone who wants to carries a gun, and isn't afraid to use it.
But someone has bombed the Endicott Building, killing hundreds of people, and Win Bear, the only licensed detective in the confederacy, has to find out who did this dastardly deed, and why. Because whoever did it has already shown their willingness to commit more terrorist acts, no matter how many people are hurt.
And that can't go on, or soon the confederacy will be just as the bad old United States--and that is something they want to avoid at all costs.
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From Publishers Weekly
Sermon battles for space with story (and often wins) in Smith's sequel to The Probability Broach (1980), which continues the adventures of cross-time private detective Win Bear in the North American Confederacy, an alternate world that's supposed to be a libertarian, even anarchist Utopia. The serpent in this Eden is a statist plot to generate so much fear of terrorism by cross-temporal immigrants that people will demand a (gasp!) government. Of course, Win and his stout-hearted companions, Militia Captain Will Sanders and centenarian grande dame Lucy Kropotkin, do a splendid job of beating off the clutching tentacles of government. Along the way, there's much effective satire (the statist plotters include a Bennett and Buckley Williams), absorbing if not always plausible world-building and some lighthearted development of the concept of sapience among anthropoids and cetaceans. However, readers will also find the book laboring under a ponderous weight of libertarian philosophizing. Moreover, the plot opens with the evil statists committing two terrorist acts with four-figure death tolls, while throwaway lines like "An armed playground is a polite playground" may put off those who don't share Smith's views. This preachy book sends a message that rings hollow in the world post-September 11. (Feb. 6)Fiction.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Win Bear makes his living as a detective in the North American Confederacy, an alternate America without taxes, government, or police. When a group of dissidents, the Franklinites, launches a campaign of terror to force governmental order upon the population, Bear takes matters into his own hands and declares war on his enemy. The sequel to The Probability Broach continues the adventures of a likable and resourceful hero who stumbled upon another world and chose to make his home in it. Smith's libertarian slant may limit the book's appeal, but general readers may overlook this issue thanks to the fast-paced storytelling and sharp-tongued, folksy prose. For large sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.