In November, Pantera Press will release the fourth novel by co-founder John M Green, The Tao Deception, which will be the second Tori Swyft thriller and a follow-on novel from his 2013 release, The Trusted.
The Trusted is a modern-day thriller, which is scarily pertinent and could, potentially, be easily realised – a point Green himself makes in his Author’s Notes – though, thankfully, without exact blueprints.
Victoria ‘Tori’ Swyft is the daughter of an Australian surfing legend – a man whose life was tragically taken when Tori was young. Abandoned by her mother and left alone, years before her father’s passing, Tori pursued an academic life where she developed an interest in safe nuclear reactor technology development. At university, she met Dr George Mellor and was inducted into his ‘eco-cult’, The 9 Sisters. Mellor and The 9 Sisters had a long-term goal: to save the planet by destroying the things it holds most dear. Each member was labelled with a letter and number, to maintain anonymity, with their true identities known only to Mellor.
Members of The 9 Sisters were handcrafted by Mellor to become the very best they could be in their chosen field: Nuclear Science, Finance and Commerce, National Security Strategies, Transport and Industry, etc. Along the way, they would develop strategies from within to cripple national economies. In order to save the planet, they must first destroy the world.
Ten years after first meeting and subsequently abandoning The 9 Sisters, as well as being fired from her illustrious CIA job, Tori finds herself in the middle of a building storm. Approached by a mysterious global collective, which has been watching her closely, she begins a new career – only to have it scuttled by accusations of treasonous behaviour – coding found embedded in her system that runs many of the world’s reactors. So begins a rollercoaster ride, with some startling twists and turns and devastating consequences as Tori races to not only prove her innocence, but to reveal the secret cabal lurking at the peak of international industry which threatens to cripple everything.
Green’s novel is reminiscent of the novels of Michael Crichton – the master of ‘what if…’ fiction, submerged in fact. The characters are entertaining and varied, the twists are not obvious or telegraphed, and the finale is a pleasant surprise.
We’re often advised that each novel in a series like this is a standalone story and, being the first in the series, that’s fine, but it never hurts to look back before jumping into subsequent books. In fact, it often enhances the future novel experience. With the first sequel, The Tao Deception being released later this year, I, for one, am glad I’ve begun at the beginning and look forward to Tori’s next adventure. Thankfully, I don’t have long to wait!
Reviewed by: Glen Christie
Rating out of 10: 8
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: April 2013