Book 3: Synopsis

Book 3: Circle of Life




            Terrified, STACEY GRANT watches her family and friends murdered by HomeSec rangers who attack Angel Falls. She finds GIL ROSE’s grandfather, MARK ROSE and together, they flee the mayhem and escape to Canada where the Resistance rescues them and takes them to Toronto to meet a rebel leader.

They are recaptured by HomeSec agents in a subway, but Stacey eludes them and escapes without Mark. Alone and frightened, she finds shelter under trash in a frigid Toronto alley until she wanders into an antique shop where the proprietor offers to help.

Stacey is escorted to an immense fortress and mosque where wealthy former Congressman and terrorist, OMAR SMITH, lives in protected splendor. Stacey is overwhelmed by the opulence. Smith knows who she is and vows to help her, though his real purpose is to discover why the U.S. Government had to destroy Angel Falls.

Stacey provides little useful information so Omar subjects her to a series of intense virtual reality experiences until she becomes emotionally dependent on him. Still, something inside her resists telling Omar about Gil.

Stacey’s virtual experiences become more intense and upsetting and she finds comfort in Omar’s arms. How can she resist her protector?

Meanwhile Gil reaches Hamilton, a mega-production city near what was once Detroit. He applies for work but as in Profit, he struggles to be productive. On a rare off day, he follows a group of young people into town where two worthless Conducers accost the group and drag one of the girls under the street to rape her. Due to the potential economic consequences, her friends refuse to rescue her so Gil tries. During the struggle to save the innocent girl, one of the men is severely injured, the other is killed.

Gil is arrested for his crimes and returns to jail where his wages are garnished to repay the city for the economic consequences of the death and the maiming.

Months later, Gil is invited to a concert by the girl he saved. There, he meets a franchise lounge singer, DYLLON TOMAS. After the concert, they go to a virtual dance hall where Gil is reunited with his virtual girlfriend, ANDREA, who he hasn’t seen since the attack on Angel Falls.

He angrily rebuffs her but she pleads with him and confesses that she truly loves him. Gil is unconvinced and ANDREA leaves, weeping.

Meanwhile, life takes on the monotonous rhythm of a working Conducer and Gil becomes desperate to leave for Canada but he cannot because the busy Chrisnukkah season of gift giving once again depletes his savings and he is forced to stay.

Desperate, he accepts Dyllon Tomas’ invitation to meet Hamilton’s Mayor to seek permission to leave the city. At a pre-banquet meeting, the Mayor promises to help. At the banquet, Gil is surprised by the guest of honor.

The day Gil finally manages to escape the city, HomeSec General, GINGER TUCKER arrives looking for him. With help from a surprising source, Gil flees to Presque Isle, Michigan, a junction of the rebel Underground Railway.

At Presque Isle, he meets an old man, CLARKE JACKELL who will help him to escape in the morning. But first, to fill the evening, Clarke relates his harrowing experiences years earlier with the economic genocide that was the result of the President’s Circle of Life laws.

Impressed with Clarke’s story, Gil vows to finally join the revolution but as he leaves Clarke for the submarine that will take him to Canada, he must first elude Ginger Tucker and her HomeSec rangers.


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What is the Joad Cycle

The Joad Cycle is a series of dystopian speculative fiction novels set in our America from 2032-2084 after a Constitutional Coup has brought to power an extreme Right Wing, Christian, Libertarian Entrepreneur who is the leader of the new Entrepreneur Party. In this America, business interests rule, government has been marginalized. and the poor and the middle class no longer exist, the result of a massive economic genocide. To survive, every citizen lives to create wealth and should living cost more than they can generate in value to the economy, they are executed. Mostly, this is an Anti-capitalist Love Story.

$$$ How to Read this Site $$$

This site is mostly fictional and it supports the novels, providing backstory and additional related short stories that take place within the world of the Joad Cycle.

The site offers a Blog and Journal from the perspective of one main character, the hero of the first book, The Golden Rule . This character, Bernie Rosenthal who is very liberal politically, works as Chief Financial Officer for U.S. Angs, a multinational multibillion dollar private corporation owned by Tom Gorman and Tom Morgan, the Toms, who represent ultra Conservative Koch brother types. Bernie is humbled by the tyrannical Toms during the day and finds a release journaling his job frustration. Meanwhile, Bernie's future self, Berne Thau, adds to the blog entries with his perspective, more than 30 years in the future, after money, greed, and the Right Wing revolution end the American Republic .

We are living in trying times. According to Berne Thau, they will get much more difficult.

Why this curmudgeon wrote this story

Every generation, parents tell their children that life was better back when they were young… and the children always scoff.

But now that I have qualified to pass judgment on that age-old warning, now that I’ve been both young and old, I have come to realize that the old have it right and children scoff at their peril though in the ways that American society has been taught to measures success, every generation since maybe the turn of the twentieth century anyway, has had it better.

But with age, and career experience, I have learned that those ways are deceptive and worse, they are wrong. Success is measured based on wealth, conveniences, and life expectancy issues when it should be evaluated on what we hope to be as individuals and what we become as people—the expectancy of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been successful enough. For most of my baby boomer life I was comfortable middle class interspersed with a few years of unfortunate decline towards impoverishment, never quite getting there before bootstrapping back to comfort.

For a time, I was a certified member of the 1%—in income though not in wealth. The 1% is a class of people who rule their part of the world and have a lot of confidence that somebody they know rules the rest of it. I wasn’t a one-percenter for many years, but it was a good life until my associations made me believe that I just didn’t want it anymore. I apologize to my family for what I had become and these novels are my penance.

People congratulated me for the success I’d earned as if those less and least successful earned that lack as well. And with the memory of a manufacturing facility in a small, rural, one-employer town in out-of-the-way Northern Maine near the Canadian border closed to improve a bottom line somewhere else, with an American town murdered for earnings per share, I signed off and began to write the The Joad Cycle.

In my research, I came to fear for my family that grew from the narrowest and shallowest possible family tree to three generations deep and two wide. My family is important and so I wrote these novels for them, for their future, for what I dread we have taken from them and will continue to take, long after we are dead.

I live in the Midwest and my friends are good people and I value them. They are conservative and most are Christians and somehow, we argue over unions as if union members aren’t patriotic Americans, too, and besides, what is to be gained by condemning workers in a country of workers. And we disagree on the poor? Social Safety Nets may not be working as well as they could (But how would we know if these Safety Nets are working? It is not as if some brave politician will stand up and precisely define what a win looks like in the freest, richest country in the history of history—and seriously, doesn’t free-form Capitalism deserve the bulk of the blame with its all-encompassing goal of creating winning humans and losing humans).

And discussions on life and death with my conservative friends, life at the very beginning and the very end, and guns and gods…forget about it. But unlike politicians and the media, we are friends so we work around the discomfort and the dislike for the greater good.

My friends are the current version of the salt of the earth and all of us abide by family values above all, even if we can’t agree on them. Good people like us accept a society where too many of our children are handled by strangers during the critical formative years. And in the twilight years too many parents and grandparents are handled by strangers until their money runs out, like sand in an hourglass, their lives extended only so far as Government security or private insurance will grant.

And when Americans finally expire after insufferable pain and embarrassment and to the sighs of sad but relieved loved ones, it reveals the immaturity of the vast majority of the American people who won’t resolve; once and for all, when God’s reason ends life and so they leave that to for-profit resolution. Can’t it just be in the fading twinkle of an ancient woman’s eyes?

But all of this pales to the legacy of GREED! Greed, that race for wealth that is ingrained in us all from television at a too early age that drives us to become economically viable so that with something extra in our paychecks at the end of the week, we can indulge ourselves with gifts, with palliatives, to relieve the pain and discomfort that we feel for doing what we must do to earn what wealth we cab. Greed is the satisfying of artificial and constant cravings.

And those who are considered the best of us, majority stockholders, officers of corporations, politicians, and celebrities all at the top of their respective food chains, they earn their way into the 1% and possessing this true wealth, they gift themselves truly extraordinary palliatives in order to compensate for something deeply unsatisfying within that was once more human, what they lost in the dog-eat-dog world that we all live in.

This is the world that we pass on to our children and our grandchildren. This world is what will own them someday like it owns us today. They are truly greed’s legacy. That too is the basis for my cautionary tale of America’s future, The Joad Cycle.

But I still idealize my youth. I remember what it felt like when I was a boy and so I wrote a grand love story, too.


Gary Levey