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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Tourist

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

Not a great book, but pretty good. Really didn't get a feel for the main character. Maybe he was just too far removed from my world. Got a more positive vibe from his counterpart at Homeland Security. Maybe that's what this book is all about. Nominally it is a tale of a secret black ops group operating within the CIA that is performing assassinations at the behest of a Senator in an attempt to influence world affairs. A nice big fat conspiracy theory, just the way I like 'em.

Our hero, Milo (how's that for a heroic name?), works for this black ops group and is looking for this assassin, the same assassin his boss is running. Of course, he never finds him. Their boss doesn't want him found, but he has to pretend to look for him. Aren't conspiracies grand?

So China is getting a sizable chunk of their oil from Sudan and the Senator doesn't like China. He can't do much, but if he can poke them in the eye with a stick, he'll be happy. There is turmoil in the Sudan. The militant Jihadists are making a fuss. So our Senator sends the assassin over there to kill one of the mullahs. He does, and somehow it is made to look like the President of the country arranged it, which makes the Jihadists spitting mad and the turmoil turns into a full scale civil war. China won't be getting any oil out of Sudan for a while. The Senator is happy. The American Empire is still top dog!

But about that business with Homeland Security. The CIA certainly got tarred with a big brush, but Homeland Security got to be the good guys. Homeland Security, aren't those the guys the comics are always making fun of? Aren't those the guys arresting people without warrants? Now we've got a book portraying them as the good guys, well good relative to the CIA, which we all "know" is old, incompetent and corrupt. I wonder if maybe a directive came down from the top of the publishing empire that said we need some good press for this outfit. Yeah, let's pile one conspiracy on top of another.

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