Friday, August 20, 2010

Robert Wickes' "The Hornbrook Prophecy"

Robert Wickes was a mild-mannered optometrist, just raising his family and minding his own business, until he moderated a community education class about current events and issues called, appropriately (but with apologies to Stanley Kramer and gang), It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The discussions and questions raised in the class about the state of the nation sent Wickes on a personal quest to find some answers and, eventually, led to his first book, The Myth America Pageant: How Government & Politics REALLY Affect the Ordinary Joe. If that book reached a conclusion of “change the business of politics or someday it will all hit the fan,” then it didn’t require much of a leap to write his first novel about that day when it does, indeed, all hit the fan.

In The Hornbrook Prophecy, America is on the brink of financial collapse as principled, but independent U.S. Senator Henley Hornbrook fights against a popular, but shallow, President Winston Dillard and his scheming First Lady. A nationwide tax revolt plunges the country into chaos before Hornbrook unveils a stunning plan that will forever change the nation and preserve its destiny.

Like many authors fantasizing about seeing their work on the silver screen, Wickes found it fun to offer some casting suggestions:
The Hornbrook Prophecy is not just about the skullduggery of politics, but about the unforeseen and sadly inevitable side effects of power and policy. I long envisioned (remember, I’m dreaming here) Tom Hanks as Hornbrook, but I think that Harrison Ford would be more believable as a decisive, impassioned, and principled and largely libertarian hero.

Dillard is mostly a smiling suit who loves to be loved, and Jon Voight would fill the roll nicely. On the other hand, Florence Dillard, long the ambitious brains behind her husband’s rise to power, is a hard-hitting political ideologue. After watching her as Patty Hewes in the TV series, Damages, I think Glenn Close would be absolutely perfect.

Hornbrook’s “special assistant” is Eagle McCall, a roguish half Blackfoot Indian/half Irish former Special Forces Major with a crush on a cute, widowed Congresswoman. Gerard Butler would be ideal, as McCall would need to be part-warrior King Leonidis (300), part-tender Gerry (P.S. I Love You), and part obnoxious fun-lover Mike Chadway (The Ugly Truth). Rachel McAdams would be a good fit for McCall’s love interest, Sunny Turner, wounded and vulnerable but able to push back when challenged.

A subplot in Alabama involves a Lieutenant Governor crusading for a radical inner city education program, an alluring state bureaucrat caught up in his fervor, a recovering alcoholic civil rights leader persuaded to join the cause, and a flamboyant activist lawyer. Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Morgan Freeman, and Jamie Foxx would be the perfect quartet. Unfortunately, the Alabama scenario would likely be the casualty of the brevity of a two-hour movie format.

Music? Start with Enya’s somber Tempus Vernum setting the perfect tone for the opening prologue in ancient Rome as centurions surround the Temple of Concord within which rages a debate that ends in the beheading of Cicero. Fade to opening credits then cut to modern day as Hornbrook spars with a reporter on the steps of the Capitol.
The Hornbrook Prophecy is a political thriller that will spark controversy from the classroom to the bar room and introduces new, principled heroes who fight for more than the girl or the gold. The novel hit book stores August 1. Learn more about the book and author at Robert Wickes' website.

--Marshal Zeringue