“Empire City is a dark, nimble book that pulls no punches. While the novel tracks an alternate historical reality, time and again I found myself taken aback at just how prescient and applicable its insight is to our very real present. Gallagher once again establishes himself as a preeminent voice in American writing.” —Sara Novic, award-winning author of Girl at War
“A brilliant and daring novel. Gallagher’s prose is sharp, energetic and witty, his characters are fiercely alive, and the cracked vision of America he creates is a monstrous thing of beauty.” —Phil Klay, award-winning author of Redeployment
The author of the “urgent and deeply moving” (TheNew York Times) Youngblood returns with this bold and provocative novel following a group of super-powered soldiers and civilians as they navigate an imperial America on the precipice of a major upheaval—for fans of The Fortress of Solitude and The Plot Against America.
Thirty years after its great triumph in Vietnam, the United States has again become mired in an endless foreign war overseas. Stories of super soldiers known as the Volunteers tuck in little American boys and girls every night. Yet domestic politics are aflame. Violent protests erupt throughout the nation; an ex-military watchdog group clashes with police while radical terrorists threaten to expose government experiments within the veteran rehabilitation colonies.
Halfway between war and peace, the Volunteers find themselves waiting for orders in the vast American city-state, Empire City. There they encounter a small group of civilians who know the truth about their powers, including Sebastian Rios, a young bureaucrat wrestling with survivor guilt, and Mia Tucker, a wounded army pilot-turned-Wall Street banker. Meanwhile, Jean-Jacques Saint-Preux, a Haitian-American Volunteer from the International Legion, decides he’ll do whatever it takes to return to the front lines.
Through it all, a controversial retired general emerges as a frontrunner in the presidential campaign, promising to save the country from itself. Her election would mean unprecedented military control over the country, with promises of security and stability—but at what cost?
Featuring Gallagher’s “vital” (The Washington Post), “evocative” (TheWall Street Journal) prose, Empire City is a rousing vision of an alternate—yet all too familiar—America on the brink.
Matt Gallagher is a Wake Forest graduate and US Army veteran. He’s the author of the novels Youngblood and the memoir Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War. He holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia and has written for TheNew York Times, The Atlantic, Esquire,and The Paris Review. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn.