Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tranquillity Initiative by Joan Meijer

Tranquillity Initiative is a medical thriller in which President Charles Anderson-in order to put a stop to an endless war with Astrakhan, and to salvage his presidency and bid for reelection-authorizes the Tranquillity Initiative, the illegal use of anthrax weaponry.

Two of the bombs are stolen off of the Trabzon Base in Turkey.  They are smuggled into New York by Micha Rodan's terrorist group.  Seeking explosives for an IED, the terrorists open one of the weapons and find nothing but strips of tin foil.  When they dump the foil and the invisible anthrax germs it accompanies outside a building off 42nd Street, the germs are swept into Times Square by a light evening breeze.  As the disease unleashes its fury within the city and around the world, and with the terrorists always one step ahead of them, Doctor Cassandra Williams, an anthrax expert from the CDC, and Richland Powell, the junior senator from new York, race frantically to stop Rodan and his men before they properly deploy their second weapon and bring the city's death toll from hundreds to millions. (Taken from the back of the book)

As political/terrorist books go, I have to admit this was the most fascinating that I've read.  In the beginning I found myself drifting off and having a little trouble staying in line with the context of the story.  Basically, politics is dry to me and I was a little bored out of my skull.  Soon, however, that changed.  I began to get intimate glimpses into the lives of specific individuals and found myself anxious to find out what would  be happening next.

The first big thing that hit me about this book is a specific talent that Joan has as a writer that I've rarely seen, and I've read A LOT of books.  Throughout the book we're presented with several characters who have contracted the anthrax virus through one means or another.  In a matter of a few short paragraphs, Joan was able to make me care about those characters.  One character was presented on one mere page, but I loved her and cared about her as if she'd been a life long friend.  I've been going over and over this in my mind and I still can't figure out how she did it.  Even if this isn't a book you might be interested in, if you're a writer, you might consider picking up this book to learn a few hints on character creation.  I'm stunned at the way that Joan has taken a mere glimpse at a person and made them someone I cared about.

Secondly, this is not the type of book that really affects you fully while you read it.  Each individual story line does, don't get me wrong, but the over all tone and reflection of the book doesn't hit you right away.  I found that once I reached the end, the entire story changed for me and I found myself clapping my hands with glee.  It's a week later and still I'm churning this story in my brain and coming up with new thoughts that I'd missed before.  Though during reading it can be dull and dry at times, the after effects of this book are what make me suggest it as a good, thoughtful read.

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