The latest thriller by counterterrorism expert Clarke is both exciting and disturbing.
American Predator and Reaper drones exact continual punishment on the nation’s enemies; or, more specifically, on people who fit a profile. From deep in America’s heartland—at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, for example—controllers manipulate joysticks to strike targets on the other side of the world. What's a beleaguered America hater to do? They must strike back, blow up American subway systems, kill drone controllers in the U.S. “The drones,” says a man named Ghazi. “We have had enough of them. We are going to go after them. We are going to swat them dead.” Only then, reason the bad guys, can they make Americans stop using killer drones. In typical thriller fashion, the scenes and viewpoints shift quickly from continent to continent, from friend to foe. There may be no better person to write this story than Clarke, who brings his deep subject knowledge to the pages. Unlike other thrillers driven by a hero like Jack Ryan, this one doesn't have a single dominating character but rather a team that aims to prevent retribution raining down on the U.S. Will it succeed? America’s enemies are as determined as they are aggrieved, and this story explores what might happen if they also had drones. Perhaps each side would inflict terrible damage upon the other. And as one character says, “Death is kind of irreparable.”
Well worth reading, both for its quality as a riveting tale and for the issues it exposes. Americans profile people and kill them from air-conditioned offices half a world away. Then they commute home, kiss their spouses and answer the question, “How was your day, honey?”