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Reviewed by Cecil Brewer for Readers' Favorite
A tightly packed story pits a cab driver, Cade, against irresistible economic forces for the next urban development of soon to be chic new townhouses, apartments, and upscale village-like dining and shopping. All just minutes away from the heart of Washington D.C. Cade's Rebellion takes the reader into a tragic modern lost cause, much like the impracticable defense of the Alamo that Edward Sheehy embraces for figurative effect. Pulled reluctantly into the cause by Luis, manager of the Chapelita Community Center, Cade revives his military skills training jundi (soldiers) in Iraq to take back their own territory. He uses his pent-up frustrations to plan, organize, and execute a mission to derail the development project by organizing the Valley's residents, encouraged by a charismatic Miami-based lawyer with a cruel past. His physical and mental wounds from Iraq are reminders of war's unending cost to the human soul.
Cade's Rebellion captures the essence of urban renewal, a process that has been going on since humans first defended their home against intruders wanting to take it for their own use. Edward Sheehy paints prose portraits of dissimilar lives in a collection of characters representing working-class families, community organizers, subsistence business owners, gang members, technology aristocrats, lawyers, saints, and sinners. Every one of them has an interesting story woven into this conflict of cultures, of ideas, and of perspectives about "territory" and how it is used. Luis is perhaps the symbolic center of the story. His story and that of his two sons frame the novel. Cade and Father Gus pay the price for victory, a victory that changed the Valley, its residents, as the altered process continued. Urban redevelopment provides a new population with a sense of their "home;" one that someday they too will defend or leave.