Thursday, 7 May 2009


A singularly appropriate book to read given the stories all over the news at the moment. However, I did get it out the library before swine flu was declared a pandemic.

Although at first I found it a little difficult to get into, as it was laden with rather too many technical details for my liking, I stuck with it long enough to realise that this truly was a fascinating book. And completely and utterly gripping, as evidenced by the fact that I stayed up until quarter to one in the morning on Monday--despite knowing I needed to actually sleep because I had college the following day. Then I lay there awake thinking 'wow, that was really good', and pondering whether the twist at the end was actually feasible. The author made the point pretty clear that it was a work of fiction, but then included some rather disturbing facts that made it seem rather less like a work of fiction and more an exposé of a disturbing conspiracy.

A diver finds a wrecked aircraft, takes away a briefcase. Inside the briefcase are several vials. Thinking they contain some sort of drug, he tastes it. Then he dies a shockingly gruesome death and fear breaks out in the Greek Islands as to what he's taken, how it killed him, and what the virus was. Another man is found dead, a full scale pandemic looks imminent. Paul Richter--a British spy--is sent in to investigate what happened. He uncovers a trail of clues leading to the CIA and a secret America would rather stay buried.

Well worth reading, if only for the astonishingly good twist at the end. But that's not the only reason it was enjoyable. The action was good, the setting and technical detail believable the characters (especially Paul Richter) well developed... In short, it's just the sort of thing any reader of thrillers would enjoy. And if you like conspiracy theories too... Well, this one just takes the prize for the most intriguing and best theory I have yet heard. As well as being terrifyingly believable.

Oh, and as an interesting extra: this is probably the first book I've read which included a glossary that was useful. I know, shocking. The words you wanted to look up were in there, but all the acronyms etc were also explained in the text--the glossary was just a good reminder. Most books don't bother to put the words/abbreviations you actually want to look up in there.

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