rhythms on a flaming drum by Michael Hopping
"With uncanny prescience and nuanced story, Hopping deftly crafts the convoluted personal and political relationships in a disturbingly familiar world of environmental and social turmoil, cyber-hacking, GPS tracking, infiltrators, and collaborators, along with brutal reprisals and heroic survivals."
—Clare Hanrahan, author, Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir
"Absolutely first-rate. The plot is gripping, not to say frightening. It is chillingly close to reality, in terms of our politics, both corporate and governmental, as well as the desecration of our environment."
—Sarah-Ann Smith, author, Trang Sen
"With his trademark erudition and copious imagination, Hopping expertly leads us through a corrupted and perilous world not quite parallel to our own, where an earthquake in Memphis, Tennessee sets Xan Hicks on a collision course with treachery and collusion amongst corporate, government and military figures—and with Caitlin Schmidt, the beautiful actress and activist who’s fighting them."
—Jerry Stubblefield, playwright and author of Homunculus
Here in America, corporate control of government has proceeded apace, leftist resistance is outlawed and activists are considered enemies of the state. It is an America that could happen tomorrow—or may already be in place, without our noticing. Caitlin Schmidt, a young woman of privilege, is participating in a covert leafleting campaign opposing the ongoing pollution of local drinking water by Palomar Coatings, an industrial plant with secret government contracts. While she and her group aren’t caught, demonstrators at the Palomar gates are beaten and arrested.
Shortly thereafter, Caitlin reconnects with Xan, a young man the media dubbed “John Henry” after he entered a collapsed building and rescued a man and his two daughters, only to slip away before being identified. A romance develops, and Caitlin and Xan struggle to maintain their relationship and their integrity while trying to save themselves and their community from the corporate-government ISA forces—and working to bring Palomar down.
Michael Hopping lives near Asheville, North Carolina. In a former life he was a practicing psychiatrist and medical director for a community mental health center. In search of less industrialized approaches to coping with today’s world, he eventually left the field. For several years Michael served as an investigative reporter, features writer, and occasional commentator for alternative news outlets in and beyond Asheville. His short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Spoiled Ink, The Great Smokies Review, fresh, the Mad Hatters’ Review blog and Chrysalis Reader. His acclaimed collection of short stories, MacTiernan’s Bottle, was published in 2011 by Pisgah Press. A novel, Meet Me in Paradise, was published in 2007.