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"Get your news weakly"SM 13 October 2008

Book Review: The Free Marketeers

Alan Vertspan, commercial paper, $700B
This new release from the American Enterprise Press in Washington, DC positions itself as an epic struggle of the forces of youth, righteousness, courage, honor, and the market against the forces of darkness, plotting Machiavellian intrigue, and socialism. The main character is an idealistic, but inexperienced young adventurer named, d'Arpaulson, who hails from the Beach of Palms. He travels to the City of York to fulfill his dream to become a Marketeer with the Wall Guard. In the City of York, he meets three fast friends, Anos, Pathos, and Amortis, known collectively as the Free Marketeers. These three are courageous young day traders calling themselves, working for the Grand Duchy of Sachs. Young d'Arpaulson is first viewed with skepticism by the Free Marketeers, who have doubts about his background, lacking, as it did, sufficient Talmudic influence for a Marketeer of Wall. However, d'Arpaulson quickly proves his worth by buying the favor of Duke Corzine of Sachs.

The main antagonist of The Free Marketeers is an almost farcically evil Cardinal Cheney. The Cardinal is also impressed with d'Arpaulson's resourcefulness and offers him a ministerial position. Despite the appeal of the ministerial position, d'Arpaulson sides with his three friends and goes into the Wall Street trading world, eventually becoming master of the Grand Duchy of Sachs.

Finally, the kingdom in near ruins through the machinations of Cardinal Cheney, King George begs d'Arpaulson and the Free Marketeers to come to the palace and hatch a plot to rescue the economy. The four fast friends agree to save the economy, riding into the capital, just barely
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escaping the wreckage of their former duchies. In the capital, the four friends are required to purchase their own steeds and lodging, which is difficult for the nearly impoverished former traders. They are forced to live in modest 6,000 sq ft houses in the northwest quadrant of the capital, with only one driver each.

With the Free Marketeers and d'Arpaulson in charge of the Ministry of Finance, a conflict with Cardinal Cheney is inevitable. The Cardinal is threatened by the increasing power of d'Arpaulson and plots to have him killed. However, the Free Marketeers learn of the plot and warn d'Arpaulson.

Cardinal Cheney and d'Arpaulson have their dénouement in a secret location deep within the Cardinal's castle. D'Arpaulson corners the Cardinal, who agrees to withdraw the plot if the revenues from his investments can be guaranteed by d'Arpaulson. After some heated negotiations, in which each makes a tidy profit, the Cardinal offers d'Arpaulson a position in his own guard. D'Arpaulson gallantly declines, having finally achieved legitimacy for his investments.

At the end of the book, d'Arpaulson returns to the Free Marketeers, telling them of his success and offering them the opportunity to serve with him in the next administration. All three friends politely decline, wishing d'Arpaulson much success, then retire to beach houses with golden parachutes, rescued from their ruined companies and the wreck of various other government ministries.

The book is, overall, a good read, but it remains somewhat unbelievable in its twists and turns. We give it a favorable rating, but do not consider it a classic to be studied at any time in the future.

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