Tuesday, September 11, 2012

David Baldacci, The Sixth Man, 2011

This is a conspiracy thriller about how the organisation of the security of the US might have changed after 9/11, in order to prevent similar attacks. It highlights how security has expanded into a multibillion cutthroat competition industry with too much power, secrecy and no transparency. Out of control “independent” contractors and politicians with ruthless ambition, provide the additional elements for a very dangerous mix. The acceptance of collateral damage and innocent human sacrifice is no obstacle to achieving their ends.  The real problem is no longer the lack of intelligence data. It is rather the availability of too much data.  Only the best of minds can come through this information overload and connect the dots of seemingly unrelated events, making sense out of chaos. Some superiority in technology, eyes in the sky and communication scrambling, proves essential for anyone wishing to survive.

Roy with his eidetic memory can fulfil the role of the perfect analyst. His successes make him a threat that has to be eliminated by any means. He works for the E-Program. The E does not stand for eidetic.  The E stands for Ecclesiastes. “One underlying philosophy in Ecclesiastes is that the individual can find truth by using his powers of observation and reason instead of blindly following tradition.  You acquire wisdom and focus that wisdom to figure out the world on your own…The world is complicated, so people seek complicated solutions. And there’s nothing wrong with that because simple answers don’t usually work. But sometimes the answers are simple and people still refuse to see them.”

This is the kind of book that makes the reader realise that if any of these could be true, a novel would be the only way to make it public. This novel will make an excellent movie.

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