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Rotten Gods by Greg Barron
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Rotten Gods

by Greg Barron

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ROTTEN GODS is not a quick read, but don't let that put you off - it is well worth your attention and signals the arrival another Australian author to put on your "look for" list. There is nothing about this book to indicate it is a debut title. The plotting is well executed and the writing is tight, with plenty of detail and plenty of depth.

The fact that the action is on a 7 day deadline heightens the tension. There are four main plot arenas and the story moves easily from one to the other. What doesn't sit so easily for the Western reader is the account of the damage their lifestyle has done, and continues to do, to the global environment. So this becomes a book with a message as well. It also highlights the attractiveness of extremist action for those who feel that the world, or at least those responsible for environmental policy, is not listening.

I was reminded of the plot of THE LORDS' DAY by Michael Dobbs in which the Queen is taken hostage by terrorists at the opening of Parliament in the House of Lords. ROTTEN GODS however is far more global in its theme. ( )
  smik | Jun 10, 2013 |
There's something about the combination of a big threat thriller and fundamentalist based threats that makes me twitch badly. ROTTEN GODS is therefore a book that I stupidly put aside for a tad too long.

There is, however, something particularly compelling about the idea that a humanitarian man, a decent person, could be pushed to take extreme action in the face of international disregard for the economic and ecological meltdown happening everywhere around us. The idea that he would form an alliance with a group that seems to have similar concerns, although much more extreme methods, is also not that unlikely. The possibility of taking the leaders of most of the world government's hostage, and turn the security of their location against them wasn't that tricky to accept. In fact, there were some quite chilling, and rather discomforting aspects to much of the action in ROTTEN GODS.

But of course, it's a thriller, so there are some aspects that may not be quite so believable - in this case the way that lowly intelligence officer Marika Hartmann could head off on a disputed and somewhat unlikely pursuit in the middle of a major crisis, and then basically run her own show, on the ground in Somalia. The way that she managed to just not get blown away stretched credibility a few times, until, at some stage it really didn't matter how unlikely her situation was, you kind of ended up barracking a lot for her anyway.

There's a real bravery in the way that ROTTEN GODS unfolds - mostly because of the nature of the subject's that Barron's willing to tackle. There's a none too subtle political message at the core of this book that's going to get up some reader's noses, but really, what's wrong with a thriller that makes you uncomfortable or makes you think a bit. My only complaint is that possibly the book is a bit too long. There were also some plot-lines (such as the interference with tunnel digging) that just seemed to disappear in the run up to the conclusion, whilst other characters seemed to suddenly get chucked into the mix to be the hero of the day. A couple of these things did unbalance what was, in the main, a very thought-provoking and discomforting (in a good way) modern day thriller.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/rotten-gods-greg-barron ( )
  austcrimefiction | Apr 29, 2013 |
I enjoyed this, but perhaps because I do think that the west is a wasteful society that consumes without thought and because some of the most heinous acts are performed in the name of religion, subjects that are both covered in this story. There is no easy answer to these problems and this story is about a terrorist attack in the name of god and to revenge the actions of the west. It makes one think, but it is only a story.

Worth reading. ( )
  Balthazar-Lawson | Mar 29, 2013 |
An excellent page-turner. Structured around the seven days of the Jewish creation myth elaborated with the environmental damage caused by humans, we follow the events of a terrorist attack at a global conference on the effects of global warming and other social problems. The story is told from multiple perspectives in a race against a deadline set by the terrorists. The story is very contemporary and references real world problems. The author avoids stereotypes (for example, we see both "good" and "bad" Moslem characters) and there is a balance of genders with an excellent Australian woman taking a lead role (I'm Australian so I like that!). The story also provides multiple perspectives on the sociopolitical issues of today and really provokes thinking about what we, as a species, are doing to the planet. A thoroughly good read tightly plotted and satisfyingly rendered. Highly recommended. Includes book club discussion questions. ( )
  spbooks | Aug 25, 2012 |
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A treasonous British diplomat, an Australian intelligence officer, an airline pilot searching for his missing daughters, a mysterious Somali agent, and a disillusioned UN official are all forced to examine their motives, faith and beliefs as they attempt to stave off disaster, hurtling towards the deadline and a shattering climax. Rotten Gods is both an imaginative tour de force and a dire warning, holding the reader spellbound until the last breathtaking page.… (more)

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