National Reconnaissance Office, Washington: Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton is summoned by the President of the United States to verify a discovery.
National Reconnaissance Office, Washington: Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton is summoned by the President of the United States to verify a discovery which NASA claims will change the future of the planet itself.
Milne Ice Shelf, Arctic Circle: teams work feverishly to unearth an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the ice. But, accompanied by charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel soon uncovers the unthinkable:evidence of scientific trickery. They soon find out this is not a discovery that anyone wants to hear.
Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. And the truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.
- Back Cover Blurb
Death, in the forsaken place, could come in countless forms.
- First Sentence, Prologue
The plateau beneath them was striped ... as if someone had painted the snow with three huge striations of silver paint. The glistening strips ran parallel to the coastal cliff. Not until the plane dropped past 500 feet did the optical illusion reveal itself. The three silver strips were deep troughs, each one over thirty yards wide. The troughs had filled with water and frozen into broad, silvery channels that stretched in parallel across the plateau. The white berms between them were moulded dikes of snow.
- Memorable Moment, Page 87
MY THOUGHTS ... I hold my hands up; despite what I now recognise as his formulaic writing style I'm normally a big fan of this author's books (several years on and I can still remember the profound impact his The Da Vinci Code had on me the first time that I read it) but I'm afraid I thought this, his third novel (the second of his stand-alone novels), disappointing; his weakest yet.
Maybe because unlike his Robert Langdon series this didn't have any impact on me whatsoever; I'm afraid at the end of the day the political drama and NASA stuff simply couldn't compete with the conspiracy theories at the heart of The Da Vinci Code ... or for that matter the symbology in his The Last Symbol (see my review here). That I didn't take to any of the characters in a meaningful way certainly didn't help, that I was 155 pages into the book before my interest was piqued and it was another 75 or so pages before things actually got remotely exciting most definitely didn't. Oh and then of course there was the location; compared to the Vatican or the Rossilyn chapel as featured in the previously mentioned Robert Langdon series, alas the Artic Circle just left me (I make no apologies for the pun) cold.
Enough of comparing it with the author's other books though, how did I find Deception Point itself?
Give or take a dozen or so pages a book that is almost 900 pages long, I thought it too long; removing all of the unnecessary lengthy descriptions, the descriptions of main protagonist, Rachel who was (and I quote) ...
attractive, in her mid-thirties, wearing grey, pleated flannel pants, conservative flats, and an ivory Laura Ashley blouse. Her posture was straight - chin raised ever so slightly - not arrogant, just strong. The woman's hair was light brown and fashioned in Washington's most popular style - the 'anchorwoman' - a lush feathering, curled under at the shoulders ... long enough to be sexy, but short enough to remind you she was probably smarter than you. (Pg 17)
and her father, a senator, a ...
silver-haired, silver tongued political animal who had been anointed with the slick look of a soap opera doctor, (Pg 19)
and the NRO director ...
diminutive, with pale skin, a forgettable face, a bald head, and hazel eyes, which despite having gazed upon the country's deepest secrets, appeared as two shallow pools. (Pg 30)
(I could go on but won't)
... would in itself have shortened the book considerably (as would the shortening of the climax which was ridiculously protracted).
A NASA discovery about a meteorite suggesting extraterrestrial life? Ooh! Hoping for a plot involving extraterrestrial beings, instead of which I got ... Aww! That would be telling but safe to say it wasn't extraterrestrial beings.
Full of not so much twists and turns as ... as what? Hmm! What I can only describe as in that everything points to one thing only for you to discover that, ha-ha, more fool you, you were wrong.
What I thought of as an airport buy/holiday read (I can well imagine numerous copies left by the poolside/in hotel rooms) written with a film deal in mind ... and it tells.
Despite these misgivings and the fact that I couldn't quite justify it as a * ('Did not like it') read what I eventually rated as a ** ('It was OK') read.
Essentially what I felt was a ripping yarn, full of laughable life-threatening daring dos with a Scooby-Doo type villain; the revelation about as shocking. But do you know what? A read that you don't have to think about isn't necessarily a bad thing and can be just what the doctor ordered.
SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ... Science, scientific trickery, high-tech weapons, political intrigue all combine in a standard thriller.