Freedom Factor by Gerald N. Lund

Freedom Factor by Gerald N. LundBefore Gerald N. Lund wrote his Work and the Glory series and established himself as the Robert Jordan of the LDS fiction market he made his authorial way by writing short, entertaining and often silly political themed adventure novels.

Freedom Factor is one of these. The problem with reading these early Lund books is that his formula starts to wear thin. This one is a political book about the importance of the United States Constitution. The point it’s trying to make is a good one but I’m not sure that it goes about it in the best way.

The story involves a rather convoluted fantasy conceit that serves as this books piece of hand-waveium. The problem is that the preaching is not hidden well enough to not sound like preaching and the characters lack a significant believable reaction to unbelievable events. There are a number of other things that smack of author convenience such as people being in the right place at the right time, a Constitution-signing ghost who has magical abilities to change things dramatically at convenient time and to refuse to do so when more tension is required.

Lund is talented enough that these shortcomings become minor. The characters are mostly relatable with motivations that make sense. His writing is smooth enough to make you forget that you’re reading a book with an eminently silly premise to begin with. Until the ending it is a fun story that happens to have an easily overlooked message.

The ending proves to have no lasting consequences on the people involved, however, which renders the entire caper inexcusably pointless in so many ways that the rest of the book falls flat.

It’s like the book exists as a quantum particle that can either be good or… not bad, maybe annoying. Upon observation of the final, unfortunate and disappointing conclusion the entire book collapses into a quantum state of disappointment.

Gerald Lund has written a plethora of these short books that are really only LDS fiction because the characters act with LDS morals — they are rarely explicitly LDS — but this is the most banal of them all. Read it only if you are a completist.

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