Two reasons why I instantly fell in love with this book; the short, quick and crisp chapters and the fact that I was hooked till the very end, eager to find out what happened next in this suspenseful story.
The Deception Point was first published in Great Britain by Corgi Books in 2002 and later in 2009. It consists of one hundred and thirty-three chapters, making it quite a lengthy read. Despite that, it was certainly not a boring read. In fact, it is rightly described as ‘A case study in suspense.’ by the Washington Post. Even though it is a thriller by a popular novelist, it has not reached the screen yet. I was relieved to find out that I am not the only one who finds this queer. Many dream casts for this movie have been proposed on social media.
The book begins with Rachel Sexton, an Intelligence analyst working at the National Reconnaissance Office in Washington.
She has a strained relationship with her father, the Senator, who likes to portray himself as a chauvinist, but is an anti-feminist, clever and ruthless politician who is redundantly evoking the public support by casting NASA and the President in a bad light. Upon his requisition, Rachel finds herself in President Herney’s office, who has mind-blowing news for her. NASA, with the aid of their Polar-Orbiting Density Scanner, has discovered an exceptionally huge meteorite embedded deep in the Milne Ice Shelf, Ellesmere Island, Antarctica- with fossils of a giant louse!
Amazing as the discovery sounds, Rachel soon learns that she is facing a high-level fraud. Other than her, there are several other people on the team summoned at the President’s request. Celebrity oceanographer and documentary host Michael Tolland is a favorite among the public mainly due to his charming looks and the President hopes a documentary from his side related to the discovery will convince the masses of the authenticity of NASA’s find. Astrophysicist Corky Marlinson is requested to join to confirm that the giant rock is indeed a meteorite. Glaciologist Norah Mangor is there to survey the extraction pit and she confirms that the ice has not been moved since lots of centuries. Paleontologist Wailee Ming corroborates the authenticity of the fossil. Accompanying them is Lawrence Ekstrom, NASA Administrator, who is a little too protective of his agency and does not like the interference of these other scientists one bit.
At the same time, Rachel’s father, Senator Sedgewick Sexton is adamant to hurl accusations at the President and NASA related to their excessive failures and expenditures in Space and to win the forthcoming elections. His slogan of shutting down NASA and educating America has impacted quite a many minds.
Within a short timespan, Rachel is about to be encumbered with a multitude of surprises and emotions. Some aspects of the book which spice up the plot include the murky Delta Force, who are guarding the extraction pit at the orders of an unknown authority, the discovery of the fluorescent plankton in the extraction pit and how Ming meets his death. The mysterious murder of the President’s senior advisor, Marjorie Tench comes through as a tremendous shock.
Also, the attack on the team of scientists, once they’ve gathered their evidence questioning the fossils in the meteorite, sends shivers of fear down the reader’s spine. Pickering sends for the three people left; Rachel, Corky, and Michael. They are on Michael’s Goya, gathering information regarding ocean rocks, but are again attacked by the Delta soldiers on their black Kiowa planes. There follows an intense battle of survival between the two parties, and in the end, the mastermind behind the whole game is quite the opposite of who the reader expects. I was unable to fathom the story until the very end, which makes it such a cliffhanger.
A grandiose plot which was quite masterfully written, this book should definitely be on everyone’s reading list. It introduces the reader to many aspects of Science, Politics and the Military, therefore it is rich in information and a treat for inquisitive minds. Every new concept is fully explained and crystal clear for the convenience of the reader.
My favorite character is Corky, who manages to crack a joke even in the tensest of times, bringing a smile to the reader’s face. And I would have to say, I loathe the Senator for his double standards and vile politics, finally revealed at the end by his secretary.
Although a praiseworthy piece, there were times when the complicated, technical descriptions tested my patience and I had to take a break to clear my thoughts. For example, when the aircraft and weapons of the Delta force are described. this book is definitely not the right one if you want to just sit back and relax after a long, hard day.
The topic of extraterrestrial life has been attempted by a dozen or so writers, each one coming up with an eccentric idea for ‘aliens’, which is usually too much for the reader to absorb. This makes the genre of this book a bit cliched. And I think so many characters and twists have been crammed up in one story that the reader gets pretty confused at times. I had to put the book down and recollect my thoughts every now and then while reading.
The main theme tackled in this story is basically how authorities can use power to any extent to hide truths and deceive millions. The book propelled me to develop an esteemed opinion of the author’s power with words. Although not as popular as ‘The Da Vinci Code’, it is an exceptional treat for inquisitive minds.