A thriller of action, insights and foreboding
The action, conspiracies, mysteries of France and moral dilemmas entwine six main story strands and 11 main characters.
The story lines:
- A great opportunistic blow against the West: Armageddon – supreme conflict between the nations;
- Decadence in high places, and manipulation of allies – the US and UK;
- An investigation by an expert on risk, trapped between his past, his work as a consultant, and his conscience;
- The mission, sacrifice and double life of a woman determined to expose a long-buried skeleton, to expose the “system”, and to clear the way for a new, Sixth Republic;
- The ideals of a new Republic handed on from Resistants of the past;
- Sinister bankers and an occult organisation suspected of enabling people in power to break arms embargoes hide commissions and finance illicit policies.
These themes drive the characters. They clothe the pages, for the reader to undress. Their actions speak for their stunted emotions. Together they reveal the sullied state of the pact between government and the governed, the principle of mutual respect and responsibility, of rigour in public affairs and of the authority and responsibilities of the citizen.
Philosophers call this “The Golden Rule”.
France, despite the failings explored here and an urgent need for reforms, is a country of high principles and standards and a high quality of public and private life. But when trust in the Golden Rule rots away, perception is replaced by a new reality. This is the essence of the crisis which has broken suddenly in France. Opinion polls now suggest that half of the voters believe that all politicians are corrupt and three quarters of them have lost confidence in the way their democracy and political system works.
The eleven characters are:
- President Bardin: The old lion, fleeing demons, fighting to survive and deceiving allies;
- De Beaucourt: Bardin’s “eminence grise”, “fixer” and guardian of skeletons and secrets
- Colonel Kirch: Beaucourt’s ruthless, compliant and ambitious agent;
- Maretti: Interior Minister, scheming to usurp Bardin and be the first woman as president;
- Colonel Mezrat: Weak, mean, ambitious, and manipulated by Maretti;
- Titus Mallory: Risk consultant, broken by shame, bent on exposing “the system”;
- Delphine de Daguerre: Lawyer doubling as femme fatale to undress a minister’s “suicide”
- Kir: Terrorist, scarred seductress seeking vengeance and respect;
- The Lizard: The unknown killer, hired assassin, bred by betrayal in boyhood;
- Leila Kournov: The girl with files on trafficking and embargo-breaking via the Balkans;
- Lepol/Graz/Godunov: Balkan criminal, spy, broker for breaking embargoes on Iraq, Iran.