The year is 2020. The setting is a Mexico bubbling with corruption, injustice and social unrest. President Lorenzo Teran has just demanded that the U.S. pay more for Mexican oil and withdraw its troops from Colombia.
So begins Carlos Fuentes's novel, "The Eagle's Throne".
The day after Teran's tirade, the "gringos," now led by a woman president, retaliate by sabotaging a satellite system that controls Mexico's communications, robbing the country of phone calls, e-mail and faxes, and driving it back to pen and paper.
The politicians fear to put anything on record. Yet communication is essential if they are to exploit a wave of protests, including a student sit-in, a strike and a march by peasants. The novel consists of letters among the president's friends and foes. We hear from the finance minister, two creepy generals and a shady former president known as ``The Old Man.''
Fuentes, 77, handles this material with a skill born of experience. In addition to being Mexico's leading man of letters, he once served his country as a diplomat.
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