Deception Point is a 2001 science fiction and thriller novel by American author Dan Brown. The plot centers on a meteorite unearthed somewhere in the Arctic Circle. Samples from the extraterrestrial rock revealed traces of otherworldly gigantic insects thereby providing a concrete proof of extraterrestrial life. While these findings remained within the knowledge of top-ranking officials from NASA and the American government, several individual attempts to keep the news from becoming public.
Rachelle Sexton is the main protagonist. She is a data analyst at the National Reconnaissance Office and the daughter of Thomas Sedgwick Sexton, an American senator and who is eyeing the presidency. Sent by the government in the Milne Ice Shelf in the Artic Circle together with other carefully selected scientists, Rochelle and her team authenticates the discovered evidence of extraterrestrial life. The proof is overwhelming and beyond doubt. However, they discover an anomaly that is somehow significant. A Delta Fore team that have been secretly monitoring them launches an attack, killing two and leaving Rachelle and other three scientists to perish on an isolated icecap. The Navy submarine USS Charlotte manages to save them. From this point, Rachelle and her team, as well as other involved government officers investigate the attack and reevaluate the veracity of the assumed evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Brown is popular for authoring thriller novels with themes that revolve around historical revisionism and conspiracy theories. His Robert Langdon series that includes the bestselling titles Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code have received mass appeal and controversy for their apparent anti-Christian stories. However, in Deception Point, Brown displays his ability to write a thriller about modern politics and science fiction. He creates a milieu based on American politics and the American scientific community that eventually serves as a groundwork for delivering plot-driven and character-driven conflicts. Note that the brewing American presidential election, coupled with internal conflicts and secrecies in government agencies such as the NASA and NRO provide the necessary plot-driven conflicts. On the other hand, the career-oriented and patriotic demeanor of Rachelle and the political ambitions of Senator Sexton and other politicians, including incumbent President Zachary Henry, provide the character-driven conflicts.
Although there is a shift in genre and themes, Brown still exploits the same writing and storytelling style observed in his other novels. The entire story is fast-paced and the book is a true page-turner. He manages to keep each chapter short. There are no extensive narratives and a considerable number of chapters end with cliffhangers. This style in writing and storytelling is helpful in engaging and hooking readers because it creates excitement and promotes a fluid reading. Furthermore, shorter chapter narratives coupled with cliffhangers do not require extended attention span, thus creating a semblance of continued novelty and sustained interest as the story progresses.
It is also worth mentioning that Brown introduces several interesting facts. Remember that in his previous books, particularly in Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, he provide several historical facts and several revisionist version of historical accounts that are both intriguing and controversial. He also does this with Deception Point. For example, in one chapter narrative, he mentions that shellfish or crustaceans such as shrimps and lobsters are the insects of the sea. Accordingly, both crustaceans and insects are “cousins” because they belong to the same phylum of arthropods, thus sharing similar characteristic to include segmented bodies, jointed appendages, and exoskeletons. Without a doubt, this fact is highly interesting and to a certain extent, controversial. It is dumbfounding to know that shrimps share several similarities with cockroaches.
People unfamiliar with the workings of NASA and NRO could also find the book somewhat useful. Brown draws the readers into the politics of government agencies. In his narrative, he illustrates the roles and responsibilities of NASA. He also illustrates the scope of power and influence of NRO. These illustrations provide some understanding of the functions and purposes of these agencies.
Undeniably, a huge amount of research substantiates the narratives of Deception Point. Of course, it is highly possible that some of the introduced facts and several representations are misleading, just like the controversies stirred by the apparent historical facts introduced in the books Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nonetheless, it is important to read the book and take it with a grain of salt. After all, it remains a work of fiction and its primary purpose is to entertain through a hard-to-put down reading experience.
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