Theory on a thrill ridePrivacy Wars, A Thriller

Oct 12, 2012

By Karl Klooster

Of the News-Register, McMinnville, Oregon.

John D. Trudel visits the Spinx

John Trudel may technically be a retiree, but he appears to have found his niche. If he’s sitting in a rocking chair, his lap must be cradling a laptop, as he just released his second novel of the year.

Like his first, “God’s House,” “Privacy Wars” is an international thriller based in Oregon. And it packs a whole lot of action, intrigue, political chicanery and social commentary into its 283 pages.

There’s considerable complexity to the crosscurrents, so it’s informative to set the stage, hopefully without taking away from the storytelling.

The time is something north of two decades from now. The 49th president of the United States resides in The White House, and he is cracking under the sort of pressure never experienced by any of his predecessors.

The once wealthiest, proudest, most powerful county in the world has fallen on hard times. It is a nation deeply in debt and chafing under the burden.

But who is the international creditor holding those overdue IOUs? China? Bu dui. No way. Germany? Nein, mein Herr. Japan? Hai. That’s a big yes.

The Land of the Rising Sun has arisen from its financial doldrums through smart policies and strict discipline to once again lead the world economically. And with its newly attained supremacy, the neo-Tojos in Tokyo have exacted an onerous price for keeping America afloat with copious quantities of the stable and much sought after Yen.

So-called peacekeepers, supposedly operating under the authority and administration of the United Nations, have been stationed at barracks in major U.S. cities — including Portland.

However, the well-armed military men who carry the title U.N. peacekeepers come from just one country — Japan. In reality, they are an occupying force.

Welcome to an ironic payback for our own occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and, lest we forget history, Japan.

Into this unstable mix, Cybertech, an Oregon company, is interjected. Its small but brilliant team of engineers has invented a level of software encryption never before seen on the planet.

It’s not patented, and how it works is known to just a few, and they are holding it in total secrecy. Despite Herculean efforts by top experts, with funding from mega-corporations, it has thus far proven unbreakable.

This means Cybertech’s customers can conduct their activities, whether personal or commercial, strictly honest or insidiously nefarious, without fear of detection or interference.

Cybertech itself purports to be impeccably ethical, choosing only companies or individuals of sterling reputations as clients. It specifically rules out governments and the U.N.

Not surprisingly, major players of all stripes around the world are displeased. If they can’t have it, then they don’t want anyone else to have it either. And the Japanese government leads this list.

Not incidentally, the Yakuza, Japan’s version of the Mafia, is a Cybertech client. Let’s hear it for unfettered free enterprise and the inviolable right to privacy.

Constitutional, ethical and moral arguments vary all over the lot on privacy rights, of course. How universally it should apply depends on any number of scenarios and variables. But that’s a whole other discussion.

Consequently, Cybertech is forced to shut down, to go underground. And Will Giles, the son of its founder, is forced to spend his time and energy eluding relentless pursuers from the U.N. Peace Force, consuming a substantial part of the plot.

An elite Japanese squad led by a martial arts master may have murder on its minds and the highest authorities on its side, but Giles can count on allies whose powers transcend those of mere mortals. Much of the plot centers on how he manages to pull this off.

Since Trudel has shaped a sympathetic, forthright protagonist in Giles, the reader is led to root for him over the not-at-all-nice guys. He’s thrown in a straight-shooting U.S. senator and his niece, sharp as a whip and beguilingly attractive, who play a pivotal role in extricating Giles from his predicament.

The action shifts back and forth among several key locales, including The White House, Capitol Hill, the Cascade Wilderness and even the Chiapas Highlands of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Unknown locations are common, as are visitors from afar who, as Trudel develops in some detail, were responsible for teaching pyramid construction to ancient cultures in surprising places never covered in history classes.

Trudel, meantime, demonstrates his not inconsiderable grasp of the system, legal and otherwise, in spinning a tale of international intrigue that retains the reader’s attention throughout.

Already showing good pacing and style with “God’s House,” he continues to hone his writing skills here. Even when presenting lengthy explanations, he maintains the momentum of plot pacing.

The former top secret communications expert and consultant, who splits his time between Newberg and Mesa, Ariz., is already at work on a third high-tech thriller. Details to come.

In the meantime, he will be at the McMinnville Airport on Oct. 27 for Friends of the Airport Day. An experienced private pilot, Trudel will be signing his books in The West Hangar from 5 to 6 p.m.

“Privacy Wars” and “God’s House” are both available through www.johntrudel.com or www.amazon.com.

And that’s what I found out while OUT and ABOUT — streaking back and forth between intriguingly far flung places with the mere flip of a page.

Karl Klooster can be reached by e-mail at kklooster@newsregister.com or by phone at 503-687-1227.

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