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Dispense with reading the book, go straight to Author's message at end.
on January 28, 2011
Having heard about the contrarian views regarding climate change espoused in this book, I hoped to find an interesting dialogue in the form of a novel. What a disappointment!
To begin with, the plot and its execution strain credulity in this security conscious post 9/11 world. In one instance for example, we are expected to believe that a large number of school and community groups would go camping, all at the same time and all in the same specific area, after having received funding for it from charities unknown to any of them. Nobody would have become suspicious? There is a lot more of that sort, but I won't go into it.
Then there are the flat, cardboard characters more suitable for comics pages than a book that professes to address a serious subject. Evans, one of the main players and a lawyer, shines through his ignorance on almost anything, but especially the stuff he should know, considering who his client is. Yet, he gets himself out of tight spots that would even challenge the legendary James Bond.
Further the style: Too much idle conversation to fill pages, interspersed with rough language to give the appearance of toughness. The headings of the chapters - place, time and date - are supposed to indicate a fast pace, but it doesn't work. The whole thing reads more like an ill-defined draft for a movie script.
Lastly, and most importantly, the arguments: If not outright flawed, they are at best presented in tabloid manner. At one point for example, (page 402 of the hard cover edition), after hearing someone stating that global warming could mean insect infestations, which could kill whole forests, Jennifer asks Evans, her colleague, "Do you really believe this sxxx?" Crichton wrote the book after the devastation of Western pine forests by beetles as a result of them surviving warmer winters was already well documented. Not much research there.
Don't waste your time wading through this tome. Go straight to "The Author's Message" and Appendix I at the end. They are worth reading and thinking about. Too bad this could not have been transposed better into the body of the book itself.