Author: Lawrence Alexander
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Bobby Hart, an idealistic young senator from California, thinks that he's escaped the political spotlight when he decides not to run for president. Then, on a secret mission to Germany, he discovers that there is going to be an assassination. He doesn't know who is the target, who is behind the plan, or where it will take place. All he knows is that it will happen before the election. And that it operates under the code name Rubicon.
Without understanding the significance of the term 'Rubicon', it's not easy to understand what this novel's about. Wikipedia says - "Crossing the Rubicon" is a popular idiom meaning to pass a point of no return. It refers to Caesar's 49 BC crossing of the river Rubicon, which was considered an act of war."
I've been meaning to read this novel for quite some time now, but only last week actually got a chance to read it. I'm glad I did. It's highly compelling if only for the reason that its subject material is highly relevant to current happenings, politics-wise. It's all a bit exaggerated, of course. But there's no denying there's a hint of truth somewhere in it, although I'm sure supporters of the current administration will outright reject this book as pure conspiracy-fluff.
The basic question to which this entire book boils down to is this - To what limit can Executive power extend to? And for how long, before usurping the very Democracy it's supposed to protect?
The author develops the plot slickly and quickly, continuously keeping central character Senator Bobby Hart moving in an effort to uncover a startling conspiracy, one which is shockingly domestic while falsely and deliberately being attributed to international terrorism. The story raises many thought-provocative questions, the real life answers to which are very disturbing. The thinly veiled references to many real people also adds a whiff of truth to the entire undertaking. Makes for interesting reading, no matter how outlandish it seems at times.
There are plenty of cons with this novel. I'm just listing some major ones. But I reiterate, I liked the story despite all this.
Hart is the central character who puts it all together. But he gets all his information from people who've done the actual investigating. He just collates it together with some leaps of intuition and invariably comes up with the truth. This is a cheap shortcut, in my opinion.
** SPOILER ALERT **
Another thing I found peculiar was this. Hart is a big thorn in the sides of these Rubicon people and they try to kill him. They come into his house with guns blazing, kill another guy, in the process wake up the neighborhood and so are forced to leave Hart alive. Huh?! Are competent assassins with silencers on their guns that hard to come by? The police find Hart's entire house is rigged with bugs, and yet there's not a single one in Hart's car or his phone? And why don't the Rubicon people install a car bomb, even though Hart's car is left in a parking garage for ages? What I'm trying to say is - Hart is a good guy whom the bad guys don't try very hard to kill. He's the one who keeps insisting there's a conspiracy while others are going, "what conspiracy?" Why wouldn't they try their constant, level best to kill the guy revealing their plot to the general public? That, I just couldn't understand.
While it is fiction, there's no doubt Lawrence Alexander knows how to weave enough facts with the fictional aspects to render a book which makes for very intriguing reading, especially in this election year.
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