Reading The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum makes me think that if the United States Intelligence Agencies were run half as well as those in Ludlum's books, the terrorist attacks of September 11 might never have happened.
This novel centers on Nicholas Bryson, who has spent his life as a deep undercover agent for a secret branch of U.S. Intelligence called the Directorate. His world is turned upside down when one day he is called to the office of the Director of the CIA and told that the Directorate is actually a front for a Russian intelligence agency and that the CIA needs his help to infiltrate the Directorate.
The plot twists in this novel weave and interweave in typical Ludlum fashion until the reader doesn't know who to trust and who's telling the truth, if anybody. First the CIA is the villainous agency; then it is the Directorate who is evil, and then back to the CIA and so on and so forth.
I listened to the abridged audio version of this book, and I thought it dragged in places, so if the abridged version was tedious I can hardly imagine what the unabridged version must have been like! I found myself zoning out in spaces, but never had a problem picking the plot back up when I focused back on the story. If you've read Ludlum before, this book is pretty much like all the rest of his books-- invincible hero, extremely complicated plot, lots of action and lots of exposition. I found myself wondering how the hero was able to afford all the high tech gadgetry he continuously acquired because surely his access to funds should have been cut off as soon as it became clear he was a renegade.
I don't read a lot of Ludlum books, because they are just so much work to get through the plots. But when I do read them, I find that I enjoy them. This one was no different from any of the others. I enjoyed listening to it, but I probably won't pick up another Ludlum book for several years, as this was not a light read in any sense of the word.
The thing that is eerie and a little unsettling about this book is, even though it was written before 2001, there is a terrorist incident involving a plane that flies into a building. Things get even more relevant to today's world when Bryson discovers that he is facing a huge international conspiracy that involves using satellite technology and a network of cameras to blanket the earth and provide a worldwide camera security system. This is all being done, of course, under the guise of preventing terrorism and crime-- as long as nobody does anything illegal, then they have nothing to worry about. But if anyone, anywhere commits an illegal act, the cameras will catch it and the criminal will be quickly apprehended.
Oh yeah, way too relevant to what is happening today!