Robert D. Mather, Ph.D.

The Conservative Social Psychology Blog
Review of "Wildfire"

Here I will review the third book in Kurt Schlichter’s series of Kelly Turnbull political action novels. You can read my reviews of the first book here (Review of “People’s Republic”) and of the second book here (Review of “Indian Country”). Written in 2018, the third book in the series is “Wildfire” and follows up on the events in “People’s Republic,” with “Indian Country” having been a prequel to “People’s Republic.”


“Wildfire” opens with Turnbull in Putin’s Russia in the year 2035, doing a deal with the organization that has replaced the KGB, now the FSB. After much action, we quickly learn that Wildfire is a Soviet virus bioweapon called Marburg X that is designed to be highly infectious and to tear a society apart both by the infection and the fear of it. A communist country developing a highly contagious virus to destroy other nations sounds familiar doesn’t it? Once again, Schlichter shows his prescience in writing fictional events.


In a key early scene in Mexico City, old enemies resurface. We also learn that Washington, DC in the new People’s Republic was renamed as Capital City. There is a Maxine Waters Airport and radio giant Larry O’Connor has fled to Texas in the United States, and broadcasts back into the People’s Republic on Radio Free America. People’s Republic President De Blasio works in Trump Tower in New York City and the Vice-President works in the former White House in Capital City, PR. The People’s Intelligence Agency is housed in the old CIA building in Capital City.  


Schlicter is frighteningly prescient again with Eric Swalwell’s call for a nuclear strike on an American city, which seemed far-fetched until President Biden made his remarks recently in the real world. It is a sober reminder of the reality of so much of what these novels present as a potential trajectory for America. As always, I am praying we don’t follow the People’s Republic path. This path has the Pentagon overrun with a colony of violent former criminals and vagrants and Arlington National Cemetery as a landfill.


One catalyst to the People’s Republic pathway is restricting citizen’s rights to own firearms. My favorite Turnbull quote from a key scene is: “Wonderful. This is what a disarmed populace looked like. Living in fear of the biggest and strongest” (p. 263).


As expected in a Turnbull novel, there is a great deal of combat, tactical detail, fighting, and shooting. In this one, there is also a little bit of cannibalism. Schlichter improves his fiction writing skills with each novel, and “Wildfire” has a greater development of characters (more emotional depth, within the context of a soldier who plays his cards very close to the vest) than the first two. There is also a benefit of recurring characters for Turnbull to develop a history with allies and rivals. This makes readers strongly invested in the success and potential failure of every calculated decision the hero makes to survive and save the world.


Overall, I enjoyed reading “Wildfire” and look forward to reading the next book in the series, “Collapse”.  

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