Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

It has been a long trip. Twenty-two weeks, sixty chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue. With this week’s installment, John Hunt’s Higher Cause finally comes to an end.

We had a lot of adventure, saw a lot of character and relationship arcs, experienced some mystery and intrigue, and all the while saw a libertarian society in operation. It struggled to survive in the midst of statism, full of dedicated men who not only believed in a libertarian philosophy but were willing to live it and work hard to achieve it. It would be nice to see more works of this sort.

The books virtues, as I have mentioned before, are the imagination that went into the concept and the overall grasp of a story arc. The writing is generally solid and Hunt manages to competently weave together a rather complex tale.

It is my opinion that the dialogue could be improved and that certain sections of the prose could be deleted to good effect. At times, there was a tendency to over-explain things.

In addition to the above, and with the story now behind us, there are other aspects I would like to point out as needing strengthening. For starters, the separate story strands could have been synchronized a little better. For most of the novel, they complimented each other and crisscrossed back and forth quite nicely, but things came loose a touch at the end.

There are four chapters and an epilogue after the main climax. Most of the sundry plots eventually came together in the attempted takeover and defense of The Island, and when this wraps up it must be viewed as the final climax to the story. However, it drags on a little further with a separate story that, as it turns out, never really had much effect on the story as a whole.

There was a lot of time spent developing this side story, and yet we can see now that its removal would change little but the word count. Though its final resolution is unique and definitely interesting, it feels like it should be part of a different book. A stronger ending would have tied it in to the main story a little better, maybe even made it a crucial part of the resolution, which could then be followed by a single chapter to tie up loose ends.

There were story elements that waned in importance, and one wonders if they should have been included at all. If so, they should be seen through to a better finish. There were other elements that strained credulity a bit, such as Petur’s constant runins with Elisa. But despite these flaws, the work was imaginative and entertaining, with some genuinely fun sections.

I would recommend a revision to get the most out of the work; there is definitely a good story there, something worth seeing to. Perhaps, and I shall end on this point, the revision could have more of the libertarian legal system at play. It is not enough to point out a court room and simply say that it rarely gets used. Statists everywhere need to see libertarian law in action, see it work and see it justified.

I hope to see more from Hunt. He has the imagination and competence with writing to be a good author. I think Higher Cause was generally engaging and would like to see another draft to bring it along a little further. There are few enough truly libertarian works of literature; this one is to be encouraged. Don’t forget the ebook is out and Christmas is around the corner. It might make a nice gift for that special statist in your life.

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About the Author

Matthew Bruce Alexander Staff Writer

Matthew is a libertarian living in central Ohio. A graduate of Ohio State University, he majored in Spanish and has published a work of libertarian science-fiction called Wĭthûr Wē.

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