When a desperate U.S. President seeks the help of a smart and beautiful intelligence analyst, a handsome oceanographer who also anchors a popular television series, a world famous astrophysicist, a paleontologist, and a glaciologist, it can only mean serious business. Include a literally groundbreaking discovery by NASA and a shrewd senator who takes an anti NASA stance in his campaign for the presidential candidature and you have a plot that thickens as you turn every page. Throw in an armed secret force whose only business is “elimination” and you have a racy thriller. Top it off with a bit of idealism, romance, and family—you have an intense drama. And when Dan Brown serves all these in a dish with the hint of a shocking deception, you have a book that can be made into a movie, any day. For those of us who think that space science is magic and NASA is heaven, there is a lot of disillusionment in store, as Dan Brown portrays the woes of running a government agency as against the more lucrative privatization option. This disillusionment takes the lights out of a magic conjured by our “astronomical” dreams. The deception also manages to dampen the satisfaction of having read a good book. As against his penchant for art, archit, history, and religion as revealed in his earlier books (Angels and Demons, and The Da Vinci Code), Dan Brown embarks on a crusade where he pitches geography and science, loaded with interesting facts, against cutthroat power politics. All in all a good read, albeit a ecture long drawn out end. There is a conflict between incumbent US president and a senator who is close contender in presidential elections. The president is continuously losing popularity for his support to NASA, which has failed to deliver results and has become a major taxpayer expense. The senator is using this opportunity and his anti NASA campaign and has gained a strong popularity for presidential polls. He is trying best to privatize space and is...
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