Today on the tour I’m featuring the first book in a six book series by author Bruce Clavey. To The Republic is an epic tale that addresses some pretty relevant issues at the moment: immigration, human trafficking, the border wall, and more. Keep reading for more info on the book, my thoughts on it, and a enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three prize packs!
I was provided a copy of the book for review purposes; all opinions are my own.
TO THE REPUBLIC
The Republic Series, Book One
BY BRUCE CLAVEY
Publication Date: October 26th, 2020
Pages: 394 pages
Categories: Hispanic American Fiction / Political Fiction
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A novel for our times. A saga for the ages.
On the eve of passing landmark immigration legislation, the entire Texas Senate and its native Tejano leader, Diego Reyes, vanish suddenly from Austin. When news of the disappearance hits West Texas, cowboy Del Woodward isn’t shocked. He knows exactly where the lawmakers are, but he’s not telling. Woody’s been down on his luck, and a shady bargain he’s made puts him tight in the squeeze of Marcos Cepeda, north Mexico’s ruthless drug lord. And Cepeda’s furious with this new stall in the bill. It’s got a loophole he can exploit to add another quarter million square miles of exclusive turf to his cartel—but that territory goes back up for grabs if leader Reyes can’t pass the bill before the Senate session expires in mere days. The brutal kingpin wants what he’s bought and compels Woody to step up. How the cowboy swings the vote isn’t important to Cepeda, but this sure is: if Woody breathes so much as a word of reluctance, it’ll be his last. The prize is Texas, nothing less. It’s real, and it’s on.
The Republic Series launches from true pages of the Lone Star frontera story into a hauntingly modern arena of trade, trafficking, and tradition on the Rio Grande in To the Republic: BOOK ONE.
An Amazon #1 New Release in History of U.S. Immigration
“A novel for our times. A saga for the ages.“
This tagline is an apt one, as To The Republic is both an epic story and a timely novel. It tackles a bevy of relevant issues that are deeply intertwined, particularly for Texans: illegal immigration, undocumented workers, drug trafficking, and issues relating to Texas’ identity.
It manages and balances all these issues through the use of multiple storylines. The most dominant of these is that of the Texas Senate, which has gone into hiding as it battles out the details of the bill it will be presenting to the House. The most notable part of the bill (of which we are given hints of but is not revealed until we reach the climax of the story) is that the Lieutenant Governor wants full approval of the bill by every member of the Senate, something that would seem near impossible in the current climate. Other storylines surrounding this is that of a rancher (who happens to be a trusted advisor to the Texas governors) and a deal he makes with a leader of a major drug cartel; a journalist after the story of the Senate bill with the hopes of it winning him the position as successor to a respected journalist; an undocumented worker; a Dreamer with false identity papers (bequested to him by his best friend) who is serving in the Texas National Guard – protecting the border from illegal immigrants.
As there are a plethora of moving pieces and different players, the story required a bit of setup. It’s also a story steeped in political history, and it’s clear the author has a passion for the topic. He delves deeply into history and is detailed in the story setup, so the pace is slow. Your rapt attention is needed to follow the storyline as it is complex.
Clavey does an excellent job of showing why “the wall”, immigration, and undocumented workers are such complex problems to resolve. The storylines of the two undocumented characters and the conversations they engage in serve to illustrate both sides/humanize the issues. I think regardless of your stance on the issue, the discussions that our young Guardsman Cuco both engages in and observes will give you much food for thought on the opposing stance. The conversations the Senators have provide more perspective on the challenge they face as the state economy is weakened following a terrorist attack and as immigration and trafficking issues increase as the border wall pushes more people through the Texas borders.
“Security and population control on one hand. Free trade and prosperity on the other.”– Bruce Clavey, To The Republic
“Two very real stances that feed on each other, actually,” Don Bartle said. “More than ever…our economy here thrives on a layer of employment that pays way below the wage of an average Texan.”
This is a tale that will definitely hold great appeal for your history fan, as it delves deeply into Texas history, and with it, Texas identity. It will also appeal to those with an interest in politics. There is A LOT of information and detail, (at times feeling like a bit too much), particularly in the first half of the book as the foundation for this series is laid.
While the various secondary storylines clearly serve a purpose, they don’t come together in this book. In addition, I was a little disappointed at how abruptly the story ended; it almost felt like it ended too soon, before the story arc was established. It wasn’t as much a cliffhanger as a “to be continued”, and I think this is where all the detail for the groundwork laid might have been too much. I would have preferred to see more plot and character development – I was very much drawn to the characters of Carmina and Cuco and wanted to know more about them and where their storylines are headed.
This is a story that is much needed, with topics as relevant and important as they come. Clavey puts a sympathetic human face on the issues, making them relatable, and for that I am grateful.
I’m giving To The Republic three and a half stars (rounding up to four for Amazon and Goodreads).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bruce Clavey of Round Rock, Texas writes with a passion for exploring the Latin heritage tucked in cultural corners throughout Texas, Mexico, and Central America. In 2017, Clavey’s research into perspectives on state history led to his onsite rediscovery of the Mexico City dungeon where the colonial “Father of Texas” was imprisoned, documented in his book “The Inquisition of Stephen F. Austin.” His interest to illuminate compelling historic junctures brought the creation of several feature dramatizations for state museum in-exhibit performance. Clavey’s release of Book One of “To the Republic” in 2020 begins the journey of Texas and Mexican characters who confront the pressure points at today’s vibrant river border, a land that has functioned for centuries as both international gateway and barrier.
THREE WINNERS each receive a prize pack including:
Autographed paperback copy of To the Republic; unisex tee with the “Texas Forever” design; baseball cap stitched with the “Texas Forever” design; ceramic lapel pin with the “Mano de Tejas” design; vinyl 5” decal with the “Mano deTejas” design.
US only. Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, May 7, 2021a Rafflecopter giveaway
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