“Welcome to New America, where patriots are traitors and religion is a crime. After government agent Daniel Lansbury fakes the executions of three believers on national television, he and the fugitives Alisa Kent, Ian Roshek, and Ian's sister, Jill face the perilous task of outwitting President Amanda Ryce and her power-hungry Council long enough to escape to freedom. While a government reformer is on their side, rigorous new security measures thwart any chance of aid. And Daniel's estranged father, Marcus, an underground terrorist leader, is hatching plans to sabotage the breakable trust between Daniel and Ian and put himself in power at the head of the nation. As faith and loyalties come under fire, the fugitives struggle to stop Marcus and his zealous terrorists and bring to light the wrongs committed against the citizens of this fragile, fledgling nation.” (summary from Deseret Book)I was super happy when I discovered that The Witnesses was a direct sequel to Black’s previous novel The Believer. I reread the first book so I could remember the plot for the second book. The novel leaves off right where the first left off, which surprised me a bit. I was looking forward to seeing more of the world and how things had changed in her future, but it turns out that her characters were never able to escape New America and the corrupt government. The strain of staying in hiding is threatening to tear apart the fragile bands of loyalty the group only just forged. It doesn’t help that Marcus Landsbury is still out there making plots to take over the presidency, and is still trying to manipulate his son. With the way things are going it is only a matter of time before Ian, Alisa, Jill, and Daniel are caught. What they didn’t expect was that their capture may be the key to getting the reforms that they wanted all along. I really liked experiencing another adventure with these characters and seeing how they were able to change their country for the better even if it happened in a way they would never have expected. I love how layered and complex Black’s characters are, especially her villains. She did a superb job of showing their motivations and revealing their fascinating decisions. I really enjoyed getting back into this intense dystopian world.
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