Politics at the highest levels is a dangerous game. Socrates was forced to take Hemlock for his criticism of Athenian politics. The Emperor Julias Caesar was assassinated by Brutus. The assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand precipitated WWI or The Great War. German generals attempted to assassinate the German dictator Hitler.
In America, political assassinations have “usually” taken the form of character assassination. Those at the highest levels of political power go to extreme lengths to stay in power, protect their positions or to be elected to high offices. They have no qualms about personal attacks on their opponents and the use of deceit to achieve their ambitions.
Deception Point is a book about an elaborate scheme designed to help reelect the incumbent president and discredit the challenger who seems to be on the verge of victory.
It opens with a three man team from Delta Force observing activities in some kind of structure in the frozen wasteland above the Artic Circle. We later learn that a sophisticated NASA satellite has allegedly discovered a meteorite buried under two hundred feet of glacial ice. That, in itself, is not extraordinary but the meteorite supposedly contains evidence of life in outer space. The space stone carries fossils of some large insect like creatures.
This finding has been verified by civilian scientists not employed by NASA in order to support the credibility of the claim of the space agency. They are preparing to broadcast their discovery to the world. An elaborate press conference has been arranged that includes a documentary film and live interviews with the scientists. Such a brilliant discovery will justify the huge financial support that the incumbent president has given NASA and will almost certainly assure his reelection. However according to Murphy’s Law, “What can go wrong will go wrong” and things begin to go seriously wrong.
Just hours before the press conference is to begin, one of the civilian scientists notices an anomaly in the water which has filled the crater where the meteor was extracted from the ice. He attempts to get a sample of the water to test it, but the Delta Team, using a remote controlled microbot ,disguised as a large insect, attacks his eye and he falls into the freezing water and dies.
Rachel Sexton, the daughter of Senator Sedgewick Sexton, who is the president’s opponent in the election, is an intelligence analyst . She is ordered by the president to go to the meteor site and supposedly verify the NASA findings. She become skeptical about the data related to the discovery and persuades the civilian scientists to conduct a more thorough investigation.
To maintain the validity of the discovery, the Delta Team begins to attack those who are investigating what some are beginning to believe is a hoax. Another scientist is killed and Rachel and two other scientists are marooned on an iceberg which is a calf of the glacier where the meteor was found.
However, in an extraordinary turn of events, the trio is rescued by a nuclear submarine. They attempt to warn the president before the press conference begins that the data may be faulty. Their call, unfortunately, is intercepted by a highly placed official who interprets the warning as some kind of prank. Consequently, the flawed information is revealed to the public. The administration’s supporters are, of course, delighted and the campaign workers of Senator Sexton dismayed.
Eventually, the whole thing is sorted out through the diligent pursuit of the truth by Rachel Sexton, the intelligence analyst and Gabrielle Ashe the senator’s personal aide.
The book is a firsthand display of the depths of lying, deceit and corruption to which senior government officials and political appointees are willing to sink in order to maintain their seats of power in the government. Dan Brown is a master of the conspiracy theory. He is most famous for his books The DiVinci Code and Angels and Demons.
My criticism of his writing style is that he inserts a lot of description and dialogue related to minor characters that does not add anything to the story. There are large sections of the book that could be eliminated without detracting from the gist of the story or the heart of the action.
An unexpected character turns out to be instigator of the elaborate scheme which he has organized for largely personal reasons.
I read the paperback version of the book and I found the print to be of a style and size that was hard to follow.. It would be better to read the hardbound edition. As an action and suspense novel, it was OK but I’d give it no more than a C+ rating.