Don't you think that by the time you're nearly half way into a book, you should know who the main character is? Well, I don't.
For the first 20 percent of the book, I thought the main character would be an anti-hero -- either the mysterious president of the United States who conceived his own mock assassination and a plan to destabilize the world or Colonel Ryder Graham who still has a sense of morality despite the fact that he's agreed to head up the program.
Now that I've read something like 48 percent of the book, I don't think it's either one. Even worse, in a cast of thousands (almost), I don't see another likely candidate.
The story is seriously fragmented. The point of view jumps around like a jackrabbit on steroids. First we're in the mind of a terrorist named Saleh Mohammed (London, 2015); then:
- The adult Paterson Winters, soon to become president (Manhatten, 2015)
- Darien Winters, envoy to Price Farouk, the president's genetic father (1956 Lebanon).
- Nur Winters, the president's Wahabi mother (1957, New York City)
- Omniscient narrator and Col. Ryder, (2017, New York City)
- Dr. Graham, the colonel's father, and Shamila, his mother (1950, Saudi Arabia)
- The Colonel, how he met Riann Hameer (1992, Miami Beach)
- Omniscient narrator explaining the Hydra program (2018, NY, Munich, Washington)
- Armon Islam, top Islamic terrorist (2018, New York)
- Nur Winters at age 60 (1985, New Jersey)
And this is only the first quarter of the book -- the first 25 percent!
Next, aren't conspirators, terrorists and the like supposed to be impassioned and driven? These characters feel cerebral and lifeless to me. I don't feel the passion, the burning desire to achieve their ends, the rush and drama of action and history. I don't feel like I'm in the middle of the action. This book reads as if the details of a mission are being summarized in a report long after the fact.
There are also serious formatting and editing errors in this book. Every few pages the paragraph formatting goes kablooey and everything runs together. Also, there are a large number of hard returns in random places. Strangest of all are the author's notes (?) left in the text. Examples are: "noticed their 2 Bernard Jacobs broken headlight" and "his manage 40 Bernard Jacobs ment skill."
Finally, there are the problems of two or more words being run together with no spacing between them (examples are: "injihad, theirgunsholsteredbeneaththeirprayers hawls" and "shelived on MorningsideHeights") and the fact that he spells the names of two of his characters incorrectly in different places.
There are numerous other editing and word choice errors, too, but this review is getting long, so enough said.
It's beyond me why anyone would give this book 4 or 5 stars. Really. I can't fathom it. For the first time since I started writing reviews, I'm giving a book 1 star because it's so frustrating I can't finish it.