YEAR OF THE RHINOCEROS
Author - Michael B. Neff
[Photo: Left, "Year of The Rhinoceros" Jacket]
NOTEYEAR OF THE RHINOCEROS is the first novel chosen by the sponsors for the NFT Competition. It is a story of power politics, love, betrayal, and revenge. It portrays those few who bravely and hopelessly resisted the corporate invasion of Washington in the 1980's, taking us back to the origins of that lasting circumstance that compromises American democracy even now.
A STORY OF THE DARK REAGAN YEARS
THAT PENETRATES THE HYPE AND REVISIONISM
TO REVEAL THE ORIGINS OF A LOST DEMOCRACY.
Or has it?
Under the presidency of former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan, the war for America's soul has begun—a struggle of conscience and idealism versus idolatry and political dictatorship. Democracy is fading, and only a solitary small agency created by Congress, the Office of Whistleblower Counsel, has the potential to restore it.
Dominated by the White House, the agency works like a Trojan Horse to lure and betray any whistleblower who threatens White House rule. However, underground forces within the agency are actively resisting—these forces led by one woman, Laney Dracos, a powerful insider and staunch Democrat who rejects cooperation with the regime.
Arriving to complicate the mix is Manny Eden, an activist from America's heartland. Like thousands of other young idealists, he is dangerously naive and anxious to devote his life to public service. Following a bizarre interview with his future boss, Mr. Hunsecker—a shrewd Republican cursed with the early stages of a rare, flesh-eating disease—he lands a job at the Office of Whistleblower Counsel—in part because he had successfully pacified Hunsecker, but also, oddly enough, because he is a big fan of Ronald Reagan, having learned to idolize "The Gipper" at a young age.
Other liberals, even his mother, are naturally alarmed by his outlook, but Manny sees himself as an independent thinker. To him though, such political matters are far less important than his goal to help America by protecting whistleblowers—men and women he sincerely believes to be heroes. Having once been a whistleblower himself, and suffered a series of demeaning, dead-end jobs in his hometown of Kenosha, he is desperate for a meaningful career and determined to do the right thing.
However, no sooner does he arrive at his new job on K Street, than things begin to go wrong. Manny is shocked out of his wits by an enraged and hostile staffer, none other than Laney Dracos herself—known to the agency as the "agenda-sly Democrat who wants to destroy President Reagan." In the weeks which follow, and despite the many obstacles, Manny learns to forsake office politics and doggedly pursue his mission to provide aid and succor to despondent whistleblowers. Unknown to him, he is being scrutinized, not only by Hunsecker and his toadies, but by the resistance—a secret anti-government organization known as "The American Watch."
After experiencing a series of revelations and calamities, Manny learns the demoralizing truth at last. He will never be allowed to help even a single whistleblower, no matter the urgency or the issue. Meanwhile, his enemy, Laney Dracos, becomes both his mentor and source of hope. At her urging, he joins forces with her, and together they undertake a mission to expose and overthrow the agency regime.
The White House officials who stand in their way, however, are adamant and ruthless. Their plan is to clear the field for their corporate clients by making the government safe from real public scrutiny for all time to come—and with tens of billions at stake, the servants of corporate Washington will use any means necessary to stop their enemies. The take-over of the American government has begun, and Manny Eden will soon learn, with the help of Laney Dracos, what it truly means to live in the Year of The Rhinoceros.
A tragicomic tale of courage, love, betrayal, and murder, Year of The Rhinoceros is based on non-fictional circumstances, the background pieced together from Hill hearings, studies, articles, and secret interviews with former agency staff who must remain anonymous.