Ramseyer’s Ghost is a stand-alone dystopian/utopian political novel set in West Africa in 2050.
The global village has disintegrated.
The Atlantic Ocean has become an American sea.
West Africa has become a desert of failed states and anarchy, dotted with mines and oil rigs, stockaded and armed by U. S. corporations.
The Americans dispatch expeditions of geologists and mining engineers into the dangerous interior of the Dark Continent to search for untapped resources.
One such expedition has gone missing.
Ekem “Crash” Ferguson, born in the U.S. in 2008 of African parents and abandoned to the care of foster parents, is a Captain in the Marine Corps. His career blocked and his marriage failing, he accepts an offer to proceed to Ghana on a one-man mission to find the missing experts. He suspects that his supervising officer, Bud Power, is having an affair with this wife.
His arrival in Africa is inauspicious: in a shack amongst the coconut palms he comes across two human skeletons.
A boy guides him to a coastal village. He tells the chief that he has come to Ghana to search for his natural parents. The chief welcomes him and delegates fisherman Kofi Kom to accompany him to Kumase, the Asante capital, 120 miles up-country.
In Kumase, Crash goes to the stadium at dead of night to await the arrival of the three Thunderbirds, each carrying an armoured vehicle that will take the rescue party to the Fort. As the Thunderbirds touch down, they are blown up. Crash survives and is arrested. Anokye, the Asante king’s first minister, interrogates Crash. He is put on trial and convicted but Anokye intervenes to save him from execution.
As part of his sentence, Crash travels the country as a movie about the abortive invasion is screened in one village after another. He is impressed by what he perceives as a unique social experiment, led by Anokye, an attempt to build a decent, viable society in an economy barely above subsistence level.
After a year, Crash has completed his sentence and is permitted to return to the U.S. Anokye, now retired, accompanies him to the coastal village at which Crash arrived. There Anokye reveals to him that they are brothers and that the skeletons Crash found on his arrival are those of their parents.
After burying his parents’ remains, Crash arranges a passage to New York in a passing oil tanker.
As soon as he rings his doorbell, Millicent phones the Marines and Crash is arrested. He is charged with treason, tried and subsequently executed.
Bud abandons Millicent. Years later, after he has graduated from college, Crash’s son Fergus questions his mother about his late father. She refuses to talk. He gets a job as a cleaner in the Marine archives, “borrows” his father’s file and publishes the contents in the public domain. When the authorities start looking for him, he is already on his way to Africa, where he hopes to find his Uncle Anokye.
This piece of magnificently crafted political fiction deals with the worst nightmares of a not too far away future, with a world collapsed under the unwisely applied strength of a sole empire and global business interests.
ANDRE VLTCHEK: novelist, political analyst and journalist, co-founder of Mainstay Press (http://www.mainstaypress.org) – publishing house for political fiction.