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Imagine this for a plot to a psychological thriller: A politically ambitious heroine finds herself thrust into the world of national politics. She has a rather violent past she must conceal, as well as a rather, well, complicated family structure that, too, must be kept secret. At the same time she gains the assistance and mentorship of a Mormon man who just happens to be a retired CIA assassin. And on top of that her first day in Congress she tangles with a sexist congressman bent on putting her in her place. Of course things really get interesting when she gains the attention of a mysterious financier who is quite generous, but expects a great deal in return.

Before anyone attempts to read into this any sort of commentary into American politics this book has been in pre-publication mode for a couple of years.  So as they say, “All characters and events are fictitious.”  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive right into the sequel in the “Freedom from Conscience” series: “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power.”

Melanie Lindberg is a classic anti-heroine. She started out an outcast in high school who is introduced into vigilante serial killing by her teacher and two friends. As the series develops she gains her degree in psychology, gets back into trying to rid society of undesirables, winds up gaining and losing friends and lovers as she confronts a series of evil adversaries, and eventually finds herself winning a seat to the US Congress (and thus the focus of the new sequel).  A note: Each book stands on its own and one does not need to have read all the previous works to get into the storyline. Some people say they have started with the newest book and then read the others in descending order.

What really makes this book unique, aside from portraying women in the dominant roles throughout the novel, is the introduction of the character William Livingston, father of Malin Livingston, a critical component of the struggle that will occur in the story. He holds a leading position in a secret society, “The Pegasus Symposium,” which is comprised of the most powerful men and women in the world. For some reason he has taken a strong interest in Melanie and insists on her joining the organization. Of course what he offers her is guaranteed power and influence, but at a terrible price.

As for his daughter Malin, she befriends Melanie, and attempts to introduce her to a new world far removed from Melanie’s impoverished childhood or her middle-class life before her election. Malin is not happy, despite her privileged upbringing. Yet once both meet they form an instant connection.  The conflict Melanie faces as she attempts to juggle her family responsibilities, her new position, and Malin form the basis of the story’s emotional appeal as Melanie is faced with temptations that she never could ever have dreamed possible.  And throughout the story you are teased with the question as to why Melanie is being maneuvered ever-so-closer to William Livingston’s desires for her, as well as Malin’s.

One could say this story takes on the elements of a Greek tragedy, but I cannot say which one it connects to the most without giving away a major component to the developments which take place. Traditional readers will enjoy the roller coaster of the mind it takes one on, people who like mystery will appreciate the various sub-plot streams that eventually come together, people into conspiracies and politics will probably be asking, “How does the author know, this…is he Illuminati?” and people who like philosophy and psychology will appreciate the way Melanie’s character has to grapple with deep aspects of the individual’s relationship to society and vice versa.  If power is defined as, “The ability to direct or influence other people and the course of events” then who of us is truly free in a modern, complex world? For further information on this book check here:

Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power: https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Conscience-Price-Power-5/dp/1612967701/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479639866&sr=1-2&keywords=freedom+from+conscience+the+price+of+power

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