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'Debt of Conscience' by Lorenzo Giangrande

Readers who dismiss "A Debt of Conscience," the first novel by Lorenzo Giangrande when they learn of the seemingly unlikely plot will be missing out on a good read.

Giangrande's plot centers on the fulfillment of the prophecy told by the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh before his death in the War of 1812. Tecumseh foretold that a series of signs would lead to the unifications of all the American Indian tribes who in turn would reclaim their homelands from the United States. This amalgamation into one body politic, dubbed the National Coalition of American Indian Nations, plans to use the laws and courts to reclaim what has been fraudulently taken from them since the European incursions into Indian country began in the 14th century.

If only life were that simple.

In the midst of the National Coalition's unification strategy is its effort to have large tracts of unused federal land, including the nuclear testing area near Los Alamos, N.M. "returned to the previous owners." Indian lawyers painstakingly research their case and present it to the Undersecretary of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, but for naught because the corrupt official is a pawn in a plot by Iraqi terrorists. The undersecretary receives a "six-figure favor" from the terrorists for making the land claim go away long enough for them to hatch a scheme to cripple the North American economy that involves the Los Alamos territory.

The terrorist plot devised by Giangrande is just as believable as anything Tom Clancy has come up with in the past few years, including the Japanese starting World War III. The Iraqi economic and ecological terrorism plot hinges on lowering the water level of Lake Erie by draining it through underground tunnels in Ohio into storage tanks and on to underground caverns at Los Alamos created by nuclear tests in the 1950s. The lowered water levels in the Great Lakes lead to the closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the economic stability of Canada and the United States. In the meantime, OPEC does its part for stability by halting crude oil production as an act of mourning for the accidental dissection of the dictator of Iraq by an American laser-guided bomb.

"Whether you have the courage to admit it or not, we owe the Natives of America a very large debt," writes Giangrande in recognition of the relationship between America and Indian country. "It cannot be measured in dollars ? and until we recognize that debt and take the painful, but necessary steps to make a meaningful attempt at reparations, our country will never realize its potential."

The research in "Debt of Conscience" is top drawer from the anthropological background to insights on American Indian mysticism and spirituality. Giangrande also demonstrates a strong journeyman understanding of the quagmire of modern day international relations.

Giangrande should be considered an expert on the impact of the lower water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway based on his experience in the Untied States Navy and the Merchant Marine in the Great Lakes. He is a member of the engineering department of Oglebay-Norton Marine Transportation Services Company and a former crew member of the fleet ballistic submarine U.S.S. Stonewall Jackson. In addition, Giangrande holds a marine engineering license and a Master's certificate for the Great Lakes.

Fans of the spy novel or international thriller looking for a break from the established list of authors in these fields will enjoy "Debt of Conscience" and it deserves an honest recommendation.

The book was published by Lorenzo Giangande in 2001. It is available by contacting 1st Books Library on the Internet at www.1st or by calling (800) 839-8640.