Title: The God’s Eye View
Author: Barry Eisler
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 2 February 2016
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley
Knowledge is power…and they know everything.
NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. He knows unlimited surveillance is the only way to keep America safe.
Evelyn Gallagher doesn’t care much about any of that. She just wants to keep her head down and manage the NSA’s camera network and facial recognition program so she can afford private school for her deaf son, Dash.
But when Evelyn discovers the existence of an NSA program code-named God’s Eye, and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistle-blowers, her doubts put her and Dash in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins: Delgado, a sadistic bomb maker and hacker; and Manus, a damaged giant of a man who until now has cared for nothing beyond protecting the director.
Within an elaborate game of political blackmail, terrorist provocations, and White House scheming, a global war is being fought—a war between those desperate to keep the state’s darkest secrets and those intent on revealing them. A war that Evelyn will need all her espionage training and savvy to survive. A war in which the director has the ultimate informational advantage: The God’s Eye View.
These kind of techno-thrillers always seem to creep me out. It’s always scary to think about the kinds of technology that governments have to watch over everyone and the enormous power that these people have the potential to abuse as shown in this book. These books always make me paranoid about whether there actually is someone out there watching everything I do. Apart from that though, this book is a great read.
The God’s Eye View is a techno-thriller from Barry Eisler, who is well-known for his John Rain series. The book follows the entwined stories of NSA analyst Evie Gallagher, NSA director Theodore Anders and problem solver Marvin Manus as Evie becomes suspicious that Anders may have permanently silenced a whistle-blower and handed a journalist over to a terrorist organisation in order to protect his mass-surveillance system, known as God’s Eye, from being made public.
One of the best parts about this book is Eisler’s writing style. I tend to avoid techno-thrillers due to the fact that they often deal with stuff that is beyond the regular person’s level of understanding and therefore they usually become information dumps which is pretty boring. That’s not the case with this book, I don’t remember ever feeling that the book was being bogged down in the technical details but I also don’t remember feeling as if it had been dumbed down either.
What I look for in a good plot for a book is one that is not necessarily probable to actually happen, but possible. Boy, does this book deliver on that front. The God’s Eye View is very well-researched, as shown by the numerous amounts of sources that Eisler provides at the end of the book, and recent history shows that the idea is pretty realistic. On top of that, the idea is interesting and Eisler manages to weave in a lot of action along the way, which is the other thing I look for in a good plot.
I felt the characters in this book were a bit shallow. For the most part, the good characters were just too perfect and the bad guys were just evil. It was pretty much all black and white, with no grey areas. The only character that didn’t fit that mould for me was Manus, who was by far the most interesting character in the book. He’s got an interesting backstory and he’s clearly a bad guy that Eisler manages to make you feel sympathetic for. Also I don’t remember reading about many other deaf assassins, so that aspect of the character was pretty interesting.
The only other problem I had with the book was how vivid it is. There are some brutal gruesome murder scenes and some pretty explicit sex scenes. They weren’t badly written or out of place, they just weren’t my style.
Worth a read? If you’re interested in the technical side of the spy business and the sort of technology they possibly have or even just a story about how power is able to corrupt people, then The God’s Eye View is worth a read. Just be warned though that the book contains gruesome murders and explicit sex scenes that may not appeal to everyone.