Monday, 4 April 2011

The Horse at the Gates - DC Alden

The Horse at the Gates

-DC Alden

Some years ago, my friend Tom Kratman published a book called Caliphate, set one hundred years in Europe’s future. The demographic nightmare has finally come true; Europe is dominated by an Islamic Caliphate, where pretty much everyone apart from the ruling class has a shitty life. It isn’t much better in America, where the United States has become the New American Empire, freedom and democracy are things of the past and people live in fear of the knock on the door at midnight. Caliphate is actually broken into two sections; an adventure story set within the Caliphate itself and a look at the slow collapse of Europe, seen through the eyes of a young and foolish German girl.

In my opinion, at least, the latter part of the book is actually far more harrowing than the section set in the future Europe. The Caliphate is just too different from our present day – so, in a lesser sense, is the New American Empire – to be considered real. The segments set in the near future, however, are linked closely to our modern-day world. The surroundings are known and the effect is terrifying. So, too, are the mental blocks caused by political correctness, the dull inability to admit what is going on – and the horrified realisation when something finally breaks through and the character is confronted by inescapable reality.

The Horse at the Gates is, if anything, much less optimistic than Caliphate. In some ways, it is actually more harrowing because it is set in near-future Britain, one that is both instantly recognisable and warped beyond recognition. The story chronicles the final days of independence and the collapse of law and authority, heralding a slow collapse into darkness. Islam means ‘submission to God’. It may darkly amuse you to realise that when Islamists use the word ‘Islam,’ they mean ‘submission to them.’

In the near future, terrorists have detonated a nuclear bomb in Pakistan, forcing thousands of refugees to flee to the west. The EU insists that of thousands are allowed to settle in Britain while millions more languish in refugee camps in Egypt, desperate for the chance to enter the promised land of Europe. Worse, the EU is on the verge of signing the Treaty of Cairo, which would admit Egypt to the EU and allow a new flood of migrants to enter the country. Conditions in the refugee centres in Britain are nightmarish, something that troubled Prime Minister Gabriel Bryce is forced to confront.

Steeling himself, Bryce prepares to announce draconian changes to Britain's immigration policy, but darker figures are already on the move. Tariq Saeed, senior Cabinet Minister and architect of the chaos, has ambitions to become the first ruler of an Islamic Europe. With skill and patience, he wove his net – and Bryce acts too late. A car bomb destroys Downing Street, wiping out most of the Cabinet. To the north of London a simultaneous explosion levels the Luton Central Mosque, triggering a national crisis whose repercussions ripple across the continent.

(I have a case of sour grapes here. I used the same plot device in my first attempt at writing a novel.)

In London, Danny Whelan – an ex-soldier – finds himself caught in a nightmare. Pre-selected and groomed as an unwitting scapegoat, Danny's past links to a banned far right organisation have implicated him in both the Luton and Downing Street outrages. Leaving everything he knows behind he goes on the run, finding refuge with a retired politician who plans to use Danny for his own ends, a new terror campaign that will divide the population and plunge the country into a bloody civil war. Danny escapes, only to walk into a trap and find himself offered up as a scapegoat as the country abases itself before Islam.

Bryce awakes from the destruction of Ten Downing Street, only to find himself a prisoner in a mental hospital. Realising that he was never meant to recover and fearing for his life, Bryce is forced to escape the facility and embark on a hazardous journey, one that leads him to an uncertain future across the Atlantic Ocean. Behind him, the country finally comes apart – Saeed has won.

The Horse at the Gates touched on many contemporary issues and themes. The looming fear of political Islam, the gagging effect of political correctness, the demonisation of people with legitimate concerns as racists and bigots (google Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy for an excellent real-life example), the reluctance of the government to tackle extremism and barbaric cultural behaviours, the spread of CCTV, ID cards and government oversight, the transfer of regional power to the European Union and – perhaps most important of all – the growing culture of political corruption. Can anyone doubt, after the expenses scandal, that MPs live on a different planet to the rest of us?

And the overall effect is chilling. The characters are well-drawn and comprehensible, even if both Danny and Bryce give up far too easily. Why doesn’t Bryce take the chance of going to a military base and making contact with the British Army? Why doesn’t Danny take the opportunity to fight back against his tormentors? The general air of despair and decay running through the novel is alarming, with scenes specifically drawn to show just how far Europe and Britain have fallen.

Alden’s Britain is not a good place to live, for anyone. There are more and more people out of work as the economy slowly collapses. The non-Muslim population lives in fear as events such as Remembrance Day are cancelled for fear of offending people and military graveyards are vandalised. The population is either accommodating itself to the new world order – tiny details like the near-impossibility of finding non-Halal meat in supermarkets rub the point in – or trying to escape. There aren’t many places to go, for the decay is everywhere. America – unlike in Caliphate – is suffering from its own social decay. At the end of the book, social collapse seems a matter of months away…

It would be nice to say that this would never come to pass. Alden’s last book – Invasion – was fun, yet utterly implausible. The Horse at the Gates seems horrifyingly possible.

There will be people who will point and laugh at the author and call him a racist, a bigot or worse. They will claim that it is a feeble book, full of ridiculous notions and feeble verbiage. Perhaps they should consider just how many unthinkable events have taken place in world history, or how many absurdities people have believed, or just how tiny – relatively speaking – the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Nazi Party, actually was. A tiny minority can take control and force people to dance to their tune. Maybe the vast majority of Muslims are not our enemies, but those that are have devoted themselves to our destruction. And let us not forget people like George Galloway, who serve to enable terrorism and the cultural barbarities that breed terrorism and the nihilistic hopelessness that sends so many to embrace their deaths.

What we in the West seldom realise is that, to our enemies, words are just another weapon of war. Hitler’s Big Lie is alive and well. There are many little lies as well – ‘if you don’t like certain cultural practices, you are a racist’ – and each of them adds another strand to the straightjacket enfolding the western mind. We are too quick to believe what our enemies say and take it for granted that their interpretation of a word means the same as our own. Let us not forget – as Finland, Hungry and Czechoslovakia were taught – that when the Soviet Union said that it was fighting for Peace, it meant the peace of the grave. And when we use political correctness to draw a veil over the more repugnant aspects of other cultures, we do ourselves no favours. The problem with turning the other cheek is that it just gives the other guy a chance to slap it too.

The Horse at the Gates is well worth a read. And the West is well worth fighting for.

Let’s try not to forget that, shall we? Our political elites already have.

1 comment:

  1. EDDIE KIPLING4 May 2011 at 17:59

    I have both of Alden's books, his 2nd is the best, i hope in his thrid there is some sort of fightback, not all of us would rollover and take it.