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Rogue Threat by A. J. Tata--Fiction or Prediction?
Other than for sleeping and eating, I read Rogue Threat straight through! I think the most chilling thing about this book is that the beauty of the author's words (e.g., "The ferns and shrubs reached up toward him like the hands of begging children." P. 84) are used for such a terrifyingly real chain of events! Every reader will immediately be caught up in the story and realize that this may very well be a book predicting our future.
Two sets of brilliant, brave brothers--Jacques and Henri Ballantine and Zachary and Matt Garrett, all fighting for countries they love. The Ballantine brothers had their names changed when their parents moved to France, but when they were old enough, they returned to their homeland to fight for their close friend, Hussein. It was there in Iraq that Lieutenant Zachary Garrett captured General Jacques Ballatine and during their struggle, Garrett had killed Henri as he rushed to aid his brother. Jacques was never able to forget the sight of his brother's head being blown apart as he ran to save him.
Matt Garrett, recovering from wounds received in the Philippines years later, also had nightmares, memories, and anger as the result of not being able to save his brother Zachary, who had been killed during combat against Al Qaeda rebels. Hatred and anger over the loss of loved ones are not soon forgotten or forgiven.
Worldwide hatred has become the norm. This story of two sets of brothers is merely a typical example.
Jacques Ballantine sought revenge; he would make Zachary Garrett understand what he had done by killing his brother. Revenge was always in the back of his mind, controlling his actions. And when Hussein asked him to continue his fight, even if he himself were captured or killed, Jacques agreed. He moved to Canada and started a fishing service. Flying a unique stealth-like small plane, he was able to work year in and year out to bring in supplies and build the complex necessary to fulfill his assignment. He became a major power force, more dangerous than either Hussein or Bin Laden, "because he not only had means, motive and the courage of his convictions, but he was on nobody's screen." (p.17)
And even when Jacques learned that Zachary was already dead, his revenge turned toward Matt Garrett.
Matt Garrett had a visitor, Peyton O'Hara, a beautiful, tough woman who rode in on a Harley Davidson Fatboy, and who had been sent by the Vice-President of the United States. She wanted to find out all he knew about the Predator project (eighteen lost unmanned aerial vehicles). Had he seen them in China? Did he know where they were?
Matt was still recovering from his injuries and was now being considered by the President to serve as a special assistant to the CIA Director. Matt kept quiet, not willing to share with this stranger--until the Vice-President phoned and directed him to meet him at the Dulles Airport in an hour. "Bizarre," Matt murmured, but he didn't think he could say no to the Vice President. . .even though he wanted to, for he had lost his fiancé after she had become a senior executive assistant for a vice-presidential program he was developing. As directed, Matt got on a plane, along with Peyton O'Hara. As Matt left the Vice President, he said "think about the term, `secular spiritual stagnation.' Then we'll talk later." (p.18)
Their plane was highjacked . . . Matt and Peyton then continued through an unbelievable chain of events that altogether make up one of the best action thrillers I've ever read! Rocke's detail is excellent, his graphic illustrations are perfect "he...could sense that he was ripping the man's shoulder out of its socket the way a father pulls a turkey leg off the bird on Thanksgiving." Perfectly gruesome sometimes! (p.31)
For, you see, Phase II had begun for America. Phase I had been 9-11.
· This time, malls, athletic facilities, and other people-gathering places were the targets.
· This time, more countries were involved, and even the drug cartels joined with them for their hatred of the rich Americans who consumed their drugs. While Americans bought drugs, the people from their countries still lived in poor conditions where there was much hunger and disease.
· This time, they also had a newly designed secret use for those Predators, a design that brilliantly digitized pheromones that allowed control without continued involvement of man.
· And, this time, they had a high-level inside U. S. government man."
Even though there had been the 9-11 attacks, most of the military personnel had been sent by the government to fight in other countries. Americans had joined together after that attack, but they had soon once again become complacent. Rocke has used the words of Walt Rostow in highlighting what has happened to Americans, that we are past the fourth stage of "High Mass Consumption" and that we are in his idea of the final stage, secular spiritual stagnation. "In other words, nobody cares about anything but themselves [sic]..." (P. 170)
While some may argue against the application of Rostow's stages, many of us have questioned the increase in consumption and the seeming decrease in care and concern for people. Is the Rogue Threat merely another exciting and suspenseful action thriller or is the underlying storyline a real possibility of the future for us to consider?
For this reviewer, I found myself accepting it as both an exceptionally well written and exciting must-read tale, as well as a warning that tells important possibilities that should perhaps make it "mandatory reading" for all Americans!
What I do know is that I'm looking forward to Tata's next novel!
G. A. Bixler
"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." James Bryce