The Caliban Program

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The Caliban Program (Eric Ritter Spy Thriller Book 1)

Last Free Dates: 26th Oct 21 to 28th Oct 21
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...for anyone who likes a modern day thriller...

It is 2002 and Eric Ritter is pulled at haste from his Military Intelligence training and finds himself in Pakistan. He has many ideas why he might be there, but the truth is more serious than he can imagine. His university friend, Haider, dropped out and joined Al-Qaida and Eric has been pulled in specially to identify him. Given a harsh dose of reality in the war they are fighting, he sees that the person they are torturing is not Haider. Instead of leaving with his work done, he offers to stay and help find the people they are looking for, the reason being a captured CIA agent being held somewhere in the city. But his method of finding him is the knowledge of Haider’s wife, Baida, who Ritter knew at university and fell in love with. In knowing her, he is able to track down a couple of locations where Haider may be. But finding him isn’t the only job, and Ritter find himself on an unacknowledged mission to try and capture Haider, undercover in a foreign country where any mistake could cost him his life, or worse.

The Caliban Program is a short, sharp, foray into the world of espionage highlighting the seedier side of the engagement instead of glamourising it. It doesn’t shy away from the tactics they use, seeing it as a necessary weapon in their ongoing fight. This doesn’t stop it from being a little one-sided in it’s viewpoints of the good, but necessary actions of one against the other. In concentrating on describing the situation, the characters are not fully fleshed out, only giving a few characteristics to get to know them, aside from Ritter who is given more to play with, although only parts of its are actually used. It’s easier to concentrate on the events unfolding as the writing style helps to amplify the unknowns that Ritter faces as he is drawn into the conflict. The pace of the book pulls the reader along as the hidden manhunt takes place and it was engaging to see it play out. Ritter is as much in the dark as the reader for the most part, which helps to keep the tension high as the information is spoon-fed out and the need to know basis is put to good use in surprising both Ritter and the reader in the events that follow.

The main downside is the book is very much a good vs evil narrative with no sense of nuance as to why the events might be taking place. It manages to show that the war is not pleasant but still only ascribes good virtues to one side. For instance Ritter was in love with Baida, but has no problems describing her as a bit of a racist, which is a little jarring given his aforementioned feelings.

Overall, for anyone who likes a modern day thriller, this should give a great taste of the authors style and hints of how the novels will play out. The pace is fast, the facts are brutal and it seems we have a new addition to the genre.

Rating: 4
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sliara (26 September 2021)
It got a high rating, but the plot did not interest me though.

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