In some ways reading this makes you think of Kurt Vonnegut purely in the idea that an author might co-exist in the same world as their creation. But that’s where the similarities end.
The mention of 9/11 and the war in Iraq makes you think of the war on terror and there are themes of war and death but also about the breakdown of relationships. As August Brill lies away in the dark at night and writes his stories of an American civil war in his head he is conscious of being below his daughter and granddaughter who have moved in with him following ones divorce and the others bereavement.
He starts to sketch out a world where the US has fallen apart because of the refusal by some states to back the president. The states unravel and a war begins. Caught in the middle is a New York magician Owen Brick who finds himself in a world where the twin towers have not fallen but where he is expected to travel between two parallel worlds to stop the war by killing Brill.