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Published December 5th 2018
A political thriller by a former US President
When I was looking to buy a new novel to enjoy this summer, a book co-authored by Bill Clinton caught my eye. Is this THE Bill Clinton I wondered? You know the one - the 42nd President of the United States, who served in office from 1993 to 2001, prior to being the Governor of his home state, Arkansas. As it turned out, it was the same one. So, slightly curious to experience his literary skills, I decided to buy it.
It is not surprising then that The President is Missing is a political thriller which Clinton has co-authored with James Patterson. In 2016, Patterson, also a US writer, topped Forbes's list of highest-paid authors for the third consecutive year,
The book centres around a potential cyber threat which is set to completely cripple the country. The fictional President, Jon Duncan, is alerted of the threat through a message delivered to his college-aged daughter, Lily. He comes to realise that a computer virus will infiltrate the country designed to halt the military, erase financial records and backups, destroy the electricity grid, breakwater system etc. You get the idea. All hell would break loose.
When things couldn't seem to get worse, the President realises that the virus could only have been introduced with the betrayal of one of his six closest and most trusted advisers. But which one and why?
So, not knowing exactly who, he decides to lead a plan with "the circle of six" to try and kill the virus before it strikes and at the same time expose the traitor. The other person who organised and triggered the attack was Suliman Cindoak, a Turkish terrorist who is driven by money and the thrill of hurting the United States.
The 513-page read combines both an understanding of the inner-workings of the President's Office during a crisis with the strong theme of power between those who hold it and those who seek to attain it.
I sense that Clinton's contribution was strongly around the process of how Governments work while Patterson seems to add to the characterisation of the major players and moving the story along. It contains a strong dose of American ego and patriotism but reminds us of our reliance on technology in so many facets of our lives and that the risk to this for evil intent could be catastrophic.
Who was the traitor? Well, you'll have to read it to find out. If you enjoy, drama with a healthy dose of political intrigue then this one is for you.