Murphy (Dance for a Diamond, 2011, etc.) offers a novel about international paranoia and a man who may be the last hope for humanity.
Nic Moncrieffe is an English-born writer living in New Mexico. He may seem harmless enough, with his hip friends in Santa Fe and his love of sailing, but the U.S. government is watching him very closely. Nic believes that the world is headed toward a positive raising of consciousness known as “the Shift,” caused, in part, by the effects of a jet-fuel additive called Prist. He also believes, among other things, that the planet is moving toward a single government. His views have garnered interest from government higher-ups, but the people that they send to spy on him wind up coming over to his side. One Russian émigré working for the United States admits rather plainly, “The problem for me, Nic, is that I am under orders and I would prefer to be your friend.” A woman from Poland sent to get information from Nic winds up falling in love with him. Of course, not everyone in the government is so easily swayed, and, come hell or high water, they’re determined to find out the secrets that Nic knows and how he knows them. The book explores a number of New Age concepts (A Course In Miracles by Helen Shucman is mentioned frequently) and conspiracy theories (with the dispersal of Prist just the tip of the iceberg). Even the most skeptical reader has likely heard of “chemtrails,” but mentions of oft-neglected oddities, such as German teenager Matthias Rust’s historic illegal landing of a plane in Moscow’s Red Square in 1987, give the story loads of conspiratorial substance. What’s perplexing about the plot, though, is the portrayal of powerful figures. How is the U.S. government in this novel clever enough to help fabricate the 9/11 attacks but not manage to ensnare a middle-aged writer living openly in the Southwest? And although the book contains its share of thrilling scenes, such as a bizarre yet well-paced dance of fighter jets, Nic’s mastery of his world and his opponents’ utter buffoonery make for a distractingly lopsided battle.
A novel with some gems of insight, although its larger setup veers off-target.