Sunday, September 9, 2012

American Amaranth: Love and world war in the new American century by J.R. Ortiz

Julian Stansfield is a US Naval officer on a nuclear submarine, his wife Olivia, is a Classic Studies major at Dartmouth. The two share a love most couples only dream about. They have four children, three boys and a girl.

Olivia, being a political exile from Cuba, has an extraordinary love for America. The following is what Olivia inscribed in a large laminated bookmark, to go along with a book she gives to one of her sons for his birthday; it sums up the entire book:

“Love of democracy can be likened to a mother’s love for her son. It must be nurtured and protected for all time. Happy birthday, Julius, Love, Mom.”  With the inscribed bookmark came a single preserved Red Globe Amaranth flower.

Because of Olivia and her family’s adversity in Cuba, Julian and their children learn the true meaning of liberty. Their three sons graduate from Annapolis and join the Navy, like their dad, and their daughter becomes a world renowned pianist.

American Amaranth is a novel which begins in the future, 2016. It follows Julian Stansfield in a world war as he is now Director of Naval Intelligence at the Pentagon. He has personal vested interest in the war, because his sons are fighting and his beloved Olivia dies. He makes a promise to bring their boys home safely.

Instead of reading a history book about a war already fought, or in the midst of fighting, American Amaranth is a history book of a future war. We get to experience it through a family’s eye. As with any war, it is never a pretty sight.

J.R. Ortiz manages to intertwine the hell of war with the love of his family. It is a well written novel including all the elements of a good story.

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