THE TRUSTED - John M Green
Interesting premise this. Take a devastating hit, albeit targeted, in the name of radical environmentalism to engineer a change for the good of the planet. Use sleeper agents who have worked their way into positions of influence and power over many years. Make it even more devastating by having the strikes occur in quick succession, stretching authorities to the limit. Make the targets as varied and unpredictable as possible.
Because of the huge range of incidents the authorities are scrambling just to deal with the fallout, the connections aren't that easy to see to start off with. At the centre of it all is Dr Tori Swyft, ex-CIA member, Australian surfer girl, who, at university, briefly belonged to the group of sleeper agents - 9S. Lead by a most unexpected character, the group has spread out across all sorts of industries, cultures and backgrounds. These committed individuals, once inculcated to the cause, never contact each other again. It's really only Swyft that can work out the connections as the attacks build. Very fast train pileups, a code change in management software for nuclear reactors (okay so I had a bit of trouble swallowing the open source / nobody noticed bit of this one), a financial crisis instigated by within a bank (not so hard to picture), biohazards, and potential shipping disasters.
Swyft, now working for another secretive organisation involved in engineering major corporate outcomes for its clients, was in the middle of a major political / corporate coup when she is forced to walk away to discover where the trojan in her nuclear reactor code came from. This organisation and it's eccentric leader provide her with the resources, tools, and support she needs to find the connections, to go head to head with the sleeper agents, and stop the threat.
So we're obviously talking a very big threat scenario, with a lot of action happening all at once. There's also a big corporate feel to the anti-sleeper effort with private planes, fabulous yachts, high-tech gadgetry and much charging about in helicopters. A lot of the analysis, identification and outcomes that Swyft pulls off rely very heavily on the use of some very high-tech gadgetry. It's a testament to the pacing of the story that at no stage do you feel any desire to scratch a few estimates on the back of an envelope and do a spot of cost accounting - it's all very wild and cutting edge stuff yet it's compelling.
For something quite this "out there", there is a sneaking sense of possibility, which is always a very good thing in a thriller of this kind. After all, sleeper spy agents are absolutely nothing new in the world of espionage. It's not that hard to imagine that the most trusted in corporate, financial and government circles could be a plant. With an agenda that's set by convictions deeply held. Fortunately THE TRUSTED is probably fiction. At least you'd hope so.
How far would you go to save the planet? ...Would you destroy it?
Imagine a global depression caused, not by greed or stupidity, but by a secret band of brilliant and radical environmentalists, 9S, using cyber-terror to slash the world’s population and smash its resource-hungry economy. Members of 9S have spent ten years secretly infiltrating industry and government, working themselves into the most trusted jobs in the world...sleepers ready to act.
When the first global catastrophe erupts, the finger points at Australian-born Dr Tori Swyft, a former 9S member recently forced out of the CIA. Can the dark 9S conspiracy be stopped before it’s too late?
They are the most trusted… until they betray their trust.