Expected Date: April 10, 2012
In remote pockets of the Third World, a deadly virus is quietly sweeping through impoverished farming villages and shanty towns with frightening speed and potency. Meanwhile, in Washington, a three-word message left in a safe-deposit box may be the key to stopping the crisis—if, that is, Charles Mallory, a private intelligence contractor and former CIA operative, can decipher the puzzle before time runs out.
What Mallory begins to discover are the traces of a secret war, with a bold objective—to create a new, technologically advanced society. With the help of his brother Jon, an investigative reporter, can he break the story to the world before it is too late—before a planned “humane depopulation” takes place?
As the stakes and strategies of this secret war become more evident, the Mallory brothers find themselves in a complex game of wits with an enemy they can’t see: a new sort of superpower led by a brilliant, elusive tactician who believes that ends justify means.
I should start by saying that Lilliefors' background as a good journalist is clear from page one. Whether it be politics, history, geography, technology, or biology, where there are facts he has used them. His precision and acute attention to detail lend a veracity and viability to his fiction. At no point did I ever stop reading or pull away from the story and think, "like that could ever happen!" There was a chilling plausibility to everything he wrote.
Lilliefors style was also very journalistic. Everything felt rapid-fire. There was an urgency--a hot-off-the-press vibe, if you will--in the way the story unfolded. The chapters were short snippets of pertinent information; there was an efficiency in the words he chose. I would tell myself, "one chapter more," then find that I had read five chapters without noticing. Lilliefors method of writing propelled me further into the story just as much as my interest.
The only place where I feel his style failed him is in characterization. Too often it felt like a cool recitation of facts or events. I didn't feel anything from the characters. The Mallory's were interesting, but never relatable. Lilliefors crafted such an compelling, suspenseful, and scary story, but I was prevented from ever becoming truly engaged by an insurmountable wall of objectivity.
All in all, I think it is very much worth the read for fans of action packed thrillers and political espionage. However, I think it would be too inaccessible to fans of character-driven novels.
3.5 of 5 stars
This review also appears at Goodreads; a review copy was provided by the publisher.