A religious allegorical novel in which two corporations compete to control the future of mankind.
Two big companies are vying for young straight-out-of-grad-school Joshua Arden at the beginning of Moore’s engaging debut novel: There’s Jonah International, a philanthropic Manhattan firm led by CEO Malcolm Holden, and Alastar-McGlocklin, ruled by ill-tempered Morgan Blalock. In some ways, Josh is an unlikely candidate for corporate recruitment (“Corporations need to see what they do to people,” he tells his interviewers at Jonah International, “They need to understand that other things are more important than their market presence and money”); he’s a fiercely idealistic dreamer, which seems to make him a perfect fit with Jonah’s mysterious trinity of directors, although they want him to join them of his own free will. Alastar-McGlocklin prefers more coercive methods, planting surveillance devices to watch Josh’s every move. “You never know what the future will hold,” Josh says as he leaves his Jonah interview, and this proves true as Moore’s novel dramatically picks up its pace and thrusts Josh into a world of corporate espionage and covert operations in which he plays a key role that even he doesn’t fully understand (“I feel like everyone is looking at me like Harry Potter, the savior of everything magical”). With a remarkably assured sense of pacing, Moore rolls out all the usual props of a standard airport thriller—powerful artifacts, high-tech hardware, sexual tension, sorcerous cults, ancient mysteries of the Catholic Church—and handles them convincingly. The novel’s style is polished business-ese; there are far too many passages that read like corporate finance training manuals: “For monetary amounts that large, the transactions had to be monitored and filed with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that all competitive practices with the liquidation were completed legally.” But Moore invests his characters—especially Josh, whose doubts never feel contrived—with an appealing humanity, and he slips in shards of humor when they’re least expected; the results are very satisfying.
Pilgrim’s Progress meets Tom Clancy in this confident, effective thriller.