Part 1 - The Gathering Storm

In 2030, Darrell Carter is in the final weeks of a seven-year prison sentence for 'violating the civil rights' of a violent felon during an arrest.  He is angry not only because he was not guilty and was railroaded to appease rioting mobs, but because the prosecutor deliberately prosecuted an innocent man to advance his political career.  Forty-nine years old, his 17-year law enforcement career ended, his pension lost, savings spent on lawyers, he has decided his one remaining goal is to track down the prosecutor and others complicit in his persecution and kill them.

Days before his release, he is visited by a friend, Tommy Lancaster, who had served a three-year sentence for a minor property crime and had been released two years earlier.  Tommy asks if his plans have changed - Carter assures him they have not.  Tommy invites him to visit and stay with him for a while when he gets out, and Carter accepts the offer.

On the day of his release, Tommy arrives accompanied by Jessica, the sister of an Army buddy who had been killed in Afghanistan.  Tommy's survivor guilt had drawn him close to Jessica and her family and he was now living on their large farm near Chillicothe, Missouri.

On the drive from the prison in southern Missouri to Chillicothe Tommy rides on a motorcycle, followed by Jessica and Carter in an old Ford Taurus which Carter notices seems new despite being thirty years old, she explains that she and Tommy are part of a secret resistance organization working to depose the current administration in such a way as to coerce in into restoring constitutional rule.  The various freeholds have the skills and facilities to provide most of their needs, including restoring fleets of old cars to new condition, allowing them to have reliable transportation that does not attract undue attention.

The organization is known as the League of Freeholds, the freeholds being a variety of organizations of varying sizes - from a dozen or so to several hundred - guided by a council of which Jessica's father Donald is a member.  Donald is a wealthy retired farmer who rents out most of his land to other farmers, using only small parts to house his family and store some assets for the League.

Carter agrees to join the Sierra Verde Freehold, which consists of Jessica's family, Tommy, and now Carter.  Jessica and Tommy explain the workings of the League's operations, and over the next several months they visit a number of other freeholds, usually for the purpose of practicing the various aspects of guerilla warfare they expect to find necessary.

During this time another incident similar to the one that landed Carter in prison occurs in Little Rock, Arkansas.  A young cop is involved in a shooting that leaves a perpetrator dead.  The by now common scenario of a white cop shooting a perpetrator of the wrong color is again being played out, with mobs imported into the city to pressure the local government into prosecuting the hapless cop.

Seeing the victim in such a situation, Carter wants to thwart their plans, both to spare the hapless cop and to provoke the state in a way in which it is helpless to retaliate for.  He and Jessica devise a plan to remove the officer, who has been indicted for murder but is free on bail with a tracking device, from the city and to a small rural airfield owned by a small freehold consisting of farmers who own a small private airfield, and from there to a safe hiding place.  Donald convinces the Council to do it for the added benefit of practicing operations for the upcoming conflict.

Using a relay of three aircraft owned by freeholders in the area, the fugitive is driven out of the city, removing and discarding the tracking device on the way to rendezvous with his flight.  Within a few hours he has been delivered to the Sierra Verde freehold and provided with a new identity courtesy of freeholders embedded in various government agencies.  To further irritate the state a message is delivered to local news media, informing the public and authorities of what was done.

Part 2 - Go Set a Watchman

After the successful operation to free the endangered police officer, Carter and Jessica go to St. Louis, where Carter had worked as a cop before his incarceration.  The former prosecutor who had sent him to prison, Erskine McCormick, has parlayed his fame as a prosecutor into a nomination for a Missouri senate seat.  Carter has decided that rather than killing him, at least immediately, to shoot him while he is on the stage at a campaign event, in a manner that may or may not cause his death.

He and Jessica go to St. Louis to reconnoiter and acquaint themselves with the aspiring senator's schedule.  They locate a favorable sniper position overlooking a stage where McCormick will be speaking at an event, far enough away to make escape easy.  Using a specially prepared rifle, Carter shoots McCormick in the hip as he approaches the podium.  With the aid of confederates from a nearby freehold they easily escape.  McCormick survives but is partially disabled, and the incident is used to attack his opponent and he is successful in being elected.

Carter and Jessica travel to several freeholds for specialized training, much of it by experienced former military and police personnel.  One of the final ones before the upcoming presidential election, is to a mysterious acquaintance of Donald, a very wealthy man who maintains a small security force divided into two squads known as the Ninjas and Rangers.  As their names suggest, the Ninjas are experienced in deadly martial arts, while the Rangers are former military special forces personnel.  There they receive the most advanced training and conditioning.

Meanwhile, a small religious commune in the Ozarks acquires a new neighbor - a group of several hundred wealthy preppers who quickly build a sizable settlement.  The leaders of the two communities become acquainted and visit occasionally.  Luther Pierce, the leader of the commune, and Grant Page, one of the leaders of the prepper community, occasionally discuss ongoing events and deteriorating state of the nation.  Both communities are preparing for the worst.

The League makes contact with a number of dissident organizations they believe may be preparing to use violence to resist a number of new laws enacted by the new president and congress, one of which is a requirement for all children to be enrolled in government-approved schools.  They are able to secure from most of them a promise not to act before a certain date.  One of them visits the Grant Page's community and leaves a few clues about events to come.

Part 3 - Into the Maelstrom

After the presidential election the Democrat party has control of the presidency for a fifth term, with the opposition in the legislature negligible.  New laws are quickly enacted, and more in the process include government control of gold and silver, along with laws prohibiting most private ownership of weapons.

Government agencies begin attacking some of the smaller dissident communities, killing without provocation adults and children alike, and burning their dwellings.  One of those attacked resists long enough for some of its members to escape and two of them who have relatives in Luther's commune contact him while hiding out in the countryside. Luther advises Grant, who volunteers to find them and bring them to Luther's people without being tracked.

Meanwhile the League is planning to attack.  Operatives infiltrate the Washington DC area to prepare for the first phase, while others travel to various parts of the country to prepare for the second.  Millions of copies of a printed leaflet are distributed by the League over the entire country, printed in each freehold in large quantities and distributed in their general area.  The first one simply asks the people to act against the oppressive government.

During the last days before the August recess of Congress a small army of assassins is in place, stalking their targets - all members of the ruling party.  As the representatives and senators begin dispersing around the city the assassins follow.  In a few hours over forty of them are killed by the hit teams, including the leaders of both houses and many senior members.  One of those killed is Erskine McCormick.

Back at the farm Carter and Jessica, along with Donald, Tommy, and Jerry - the young cop rescued from prosecution earlier - watch the reports from around the country.  Tommy and Jerry monitor various internet sources in the dissident communities while Donald, Jessica, and Carter watch the news on large television screens in their command post.  Several shipments of explosives and weapons are picked up at the farm by aircraft flown in by other freeholders, to be used in their attacks.

General Mark Anthony, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is summoned to the White House early in the morning.  He finds the President and Cabinet in a state of shock and panic. After being briefed he immediately suspects that an operation of such magnitude that is should have been impossible to conceal in fact has been.  Besides himself, only one other cabinet has any military experience, and all of them are helpless.  Even though, as a military man, he is despised or dismissed by all of them, he now finds them all looking to him for answers.

Donald receives a briefing from the League council of the attack on the DC.  One of their operatives was captured by police, all the others escaped.  He tells them there is a contingency plan to have the captured agent act as a Trojan Horse by pretending to break under interrogation and provide information to a League facility which is actually a trap in which the federal agents sent to investigate will be ambushed and killed.  The League has also delivered a letter to the President, both houses of Congress, and the two major DC newspapers.  The letter advises that a state of war exists between the League and the U.S. government, and a demand for the government to agree to negotiations.  Another message to the population is printed and distributed, and teams of saboteurs begin attacking infrastructure targets - cross-country electrical lines, railroad bridges, interstate ramps and overpasses and other critical targets.

The government, having ignored the letter from the League, now attempts to initiate a contact using a code provided in the letter.  A phone call is arranged, but the League representative repeats the demands and the President refuses.  The League representative provides a new code, warning that if that opportunity is wasted it will be the last.  The League then sends another letter to the population, advising that a was is underway and encouraging them to help and to refuse to assist the federal government.

Federal agents arrive at Luther's commune, demanding they surrender their school-age children.  When told there are no children present, they begin a search with armed personnel.  Fighting begins and several on both sides are killed and wounded.  A number of personnel from Grant's commune have come into assist Luther's people by a hidden road through the forest which connects the two communities.  During a cease-fire Grant and several of his comrades return via the hidden road to their own place.  They then go to where the federal forces are blocking the roads. Pretending ignorance, they volunteer that they know Luther and his people and agree to go in and negotiate.  Night is falling, and after the casualties are evacuated they agree to resume negotiations the next morning.  During the night Luther's people leave by the hidden road, leaving the authorities empty-handed.

General Anthony believes the government is both unable and unwilling to resolve the crisis in a realistic manner.  He contacts several army generals, securing a commitment to follow his lead, before contacting the Army Chief of Staff.  He agrees with Anthony's assessment and promises to follow his lead.  Anthony believes the President will follow the advice of the Cabinet to impose martial law, and that it will lead to an irreparable disaster.

Attacks on the national infrastructure continue, with the cities running out of food and the electricity off in many, with continuous rioting.  Many of the wealthy are fleeing the country, and occasional assassinations of government officials continue.  The Leagues's Trojan Horse operation succeeds in wiping out a contingent of federal agents.  At the next cabinet meeting the president, as expected, orders the Secretary of Defense to impose martial law, unaware that it is impossible to enforce outside of a few small areas.

General Anthony uses a black phone to communicate with the Army Chief of Staff and coordinate their handling of the situation. Needing to contact the League and negotiate with them directly, he contacts an old friend who was formerly a leader of a powerful crime syndicate to see if he can find the League's representative.  He is successful in doing so, and Anthony contacts him. He answers the call with the words "Call me Ishmael".  Anthony explains that the contact is unofficial as the government refuses to consider an compromise, so Anthony and the Army Chief of Staff will engineer a solution.  He tells Ishmael he will maneuver the presidential staff into leaving the capitol for the 'safety' of a residence belonging to the president, the 'Western White House'. The preparations for the move begin.

At the president's residence, located on a small peninsula, Anthony contacts Ishmael.  He tells him that the Army has the peninsula sealed off with a division of troops, ostensibly for protection. In reality the president and his cabinet are prisoners.  He gives Ishmael the information needed to launch an amphibious assault.  A ship operated by the League moves in and releases a small fleet of commandos, which quickly neutralizes the Secret Service detail and occupies the house where the president and the cabinet are.

The president and the cabinet members are herded into a dining room and seated at a table.  Shortly afterwards Ishmael enters.  He describes their situation and their complete impotence.  Their initial display of bravado quickly evaporates, particularly when Ishmael informs them that if an acceptable resolution is not achieved they they will all die.  Having looked for so long to Anthony for guidance they now turn to him.  He advises them to capitulate, after which Ishmael takes the president away for a private conference.

Ishmael advises the president that he faces certain death if he refuses to cooperate but has an opportunity to leave a respectable legacy if he follows the League's directives to restore a legitimate constitutional government.  The president, who was never more than a figurehead, agrees.  He will oversee a series of reforms, by a legislature that knows failure to comply will be fatal and the destruction of the country will be restarted, this time with no way to stop it.  Ishmael warns the president to remain where he is long enough for him to evacuate his men.  When the time is up the president looks out over the ocean to see the League ship getting underway.

Luther and his people return to their homes, and Grant and his community help them rebuild.  Jerry, with no immediate plans, says he might return to Arkansas, but not to Little Rock.  Tommy decides he might, if he can find a suitable candidate among his girlfriends, settle down in a stable relationship.  Carter and Jessica, watching television, notice that the non-stop coverage of the war has been replaced by the usual pre-war entertainment programming, and wonder how successful they have really been.