The Washington Post
The Bell Ringersby Henry Porter
In Henry Porter's critically acclaimed novel The Bell Ringers, England in the near future is eerily familiar. There are concerns about terrorism, the press is feisty, and the prime minister is soon to call a general election. But quietly--largely unknown to the public or even most in government--things have become undeniably Orwellian. Cameras with/i>… See more details below
In Henry Porter's critically acclaimed novel The Bell Ringers, England in the near future is eerily familiar. There are concerns about terrorism, the press is feisty, and the prime minister is soon to call a general election. But quietly--largely unknown to the public or even most in government--things have become undeniably Orwellian. Cameras with license-plate recognition software record the movements of every car. A sophisticated top-secret data-mining system known as Deep Truth combs through personal records, identifying violators of minor laws as well as those disposed to "antigovernment" beliefs. In the interest of security, the divide between private and public has crumbled. Freedom has given way to control.
David Eyam was once the prime minister's head of intelligence. He was one of those who knew about Deep Truth, but he suffered a fall from grace. Then, while on vacation in Columbia, he was killed by a terrorist bomb. Now his former lover, Kate Lockhard, has been named as the benefactor of his estate. But Eyam has left her more than just wealth; Kate is also heir to his dangerous secrets.
Chilling, absorbing, and unsettlingly realistic, The Bell Ringers is a fearless work from a talented novelist at the top of his game.
The Washington Post
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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- 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.25(d)
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Meet the Author
Henry Porter is a political columnist for The Observer newspaper in London and the UK editor of Vanity Fair. He has written five novels, including Brandenburg Gate, winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award.
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After reading this book, and seeing that I am the first to review, I wonder- am I going on a government list for reading this book? Is my review to be archived in my personal government file, to be retrieved when the citizenry are hauled in for violations of some secret Act? Those are some of the feelings that you might be left with after reading Henry Porter's timely novel postulating what might happen in Britain if the current trend toward government intrusion in the lives of its citizens continues. The apathy of the British public to its declining privacy is also a focus, and fear, in the novel. As a spy novel, or thriller goes, the book rises and falls. When the character Kate Lockhart starts sleuthing, there are moments of Nancy Drew to be seen. But when Porter sticks to the government itself, a creepy feeling comes up your back and you know he has his finger on the real danger facing the public- itself, and its complacency that rights long held will forever be held.
This book had me on the edge of my chair at all times. It's based in the too distant future Britain. Was fun to hear them refer to the London Olympics (which are happening presently) in the past-tense.
Henry Porter is well-regarded in England and has some background in government. His book is a very unpleasant look at a near future England with omni-present surveillance. The technology is an extension of the present day, with multiple camera feeds, etc. What is chilling is the ability of those close to a laborish Prime Minister to justify and ratchet up fear to justify mass round-ups of dissidents, etc. The message is to be very beware of faceless men and women who "want to help" and think that extends to violation of fundamental civil liberties on a massive scale. Of course, that couldn't happen here...
I loved the writing style. A nice change of pace from some of the pablum I have been reading. This book hits too close to home, causing the reader to wonder who might be using the vast amount of personal information now available on each of us to ultimately limit our freedom. It also sounds the bell on our willingness to give up privacy and civil liberties for false security. When I finished this book, I tried to find others written by Henry Porter, but was unable to do so. Hopefully, more of Porter's books will make their way to my local Barnes & Noble.