WARNING: Caution Spoilers!
Like most people the first time I heard of Dan Brown was in relation to The Da Vinci Code. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up that book but enjoyed it immensely as was also the case with Angels & Demons. Needless to say I was interested to read Deception Point.
Again I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed with this read. Deception point is the tale about how NASA finds a meteorite in an ice shelf in the Atlantic. After a series of mistakes and failed missions, it looks as though the space agency is finally going to prove their worth with the revelation that they have discovered extraterrestrial life. However things are not to be that simple. A small sampling of bioluminescent plankton sets the stage for the revelation that the meteorite is a fake.
Once the four civilians discover the data has been faked they begin a run for their lives. Before they have a chance to leave the ice shelf there are two deaths, both civilian scientists. An elite team of special ops men are employed to make sure that the truth does not come out. The remaining three civilians then begin a run for their lives. They narrowly escape death several times.
in the meantime back in Washington an election is raging and funding for NASA is a hot topic. The president has been a supporter of NASA despite its failures and escalating costs, and mistakes. His opponent (and the father of one of the people now on the run) has been using the failures with NASA to further his campaign. We learn throughout the story that he is working with a group called the Space Frontier Foundation that wants to privatize the space industry. There is push back from the security industry and that is why the director of NRO is behind the hoax.
My thoughts on this book:
One of the things I love about Dan Brown’s writing is how easy it is. He does write about issues that do require a small bit of intelligence but still makes his stories engaging for those who aren’t religious or scientific experts. Like Brown’s other books this one is a real page turner. Tricky situations abound, leaving one wondering how they can possibly get out of it alive. Thanks to their intellect they always manage to.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a science expert so I could not even begin to comment on the accuracy of Brown’s data but the fact it seems plausible is quite the feat. From what I know about The Da Vinci Code he had done some pretty extensive research which he then based his story on so I think it is quite plausible that he would have done the same amount of research on this book. The idea that such a conspiracy could go as high up as it does is fascinating to me. This is one of the reasons I loved the X-Files so much (well, aside from David Duchovny!).
One of the things I’ve so very recently discovered about my literary taste is that I love stories such as Deception Point, that is, stories with many twists and turns. This is one of the very reasons that I love Harry Potter so much. People appear to be acting in one way and we only find out at the end of the story that they really had completely different motives. Its been a while since I read it, but I think this appeared in Great Expectations as well. Back to Deception Point, I was so sure for the first half of the book that Marjorie Trench was The Controller. After reading about what happened to Pickering’s daughter though I began to wonder . . . by the time I actually got to the point of the revelation of The Controller’s identity it came as no shock at all who it was. The second thing that stuck out for me was a seemingly innocuous thought of Rachel’s. Somewhere she mentions that she wished Pickering had been her father, or his warmth was what she was lacking in her own. This, to me, spelled certain doom. Things are not always what they seem. The old S&M (smoke & mirrors) adage.
Another thing that I loved about this story was the end to Senator Sexton. Again this was another thing that I saw coming a few pages before it occurred. How fitting is it though for a man who mere hours before was ready to sacrifice the life of his daughter to further his ambitions to be brought down because of his own faults. I love that Gabrielle ended up turning Sexton in at the end.
Conspiracies, James Bond like technologies, politics, action, death, extraterrestrial life . . . what’s not to like about this book?
There are a few things.
- The idea of a sex scandal seems far too mundane for politics. President Herney thinks cynicism is killing the country. That, even in real life, is too true. It seems that (most particularly in American politics) extramarital affairs and sex with interns is the rule rather than the exception. The fact it was this that brought down Sexton (how appropriate a name!) was amusing, but predictable.
- The other thing that I did not like was more a stylistic writing stance. We had about ten points of view to follow in this book. In the end all of their plot threads were tied together, but could this not have been dealt with in a different way? I also did not like, particularly during the climax, the fact that we had pages of backstory from Pickering. True, it was necessary to include that information so we understood his motivation, but I think it slowed things down a little too much.
That being said I think this book is definitely worth a read. Its no Blindness or Harry Potter, but it most certainly entertains. I give it three Dark Marks out of five.