The Bell Ringers

The Bell Ringers

4.0 6
by Henry Porter
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


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 withSee more details below

Overview


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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
…one of many novels that have attempted to update Nineteen Eighty-Four—and one of the more impressive…This is a sophisticated, engrossing and important political thriller. Porter wants us to see that the same technological tools that can be used to fight terrorism or to make government more efficient can also, in the wrong hands, be used to destroy freedom. Perhaps Porter's most important updating of Orwell is to show how corporate money might work with political corruption to create a dictatorship behind a democratic facade. The American corporation in this novel supports charities and think tanks, but it also makes the supercomputers that endanger civil liberties, pays huge bribes to the prime minister and his top aides, and provides hit men to dispose of critics.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In Porter's outstanding near-future thriller, David Eyam, the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, is killed by a bomb in Colombia that was apparently aimed at others. His recently estranged close friend and former colleague in the spook business, Kate Lockhart, is surprised to learn she's the main beneficiary of Eyam's will. Her suspicions that the story behind his death is more complex than officially reported are heightened when Eyam's lawyer is gunned down soon after thugs break into his office. While the basic plot—an attempt to uncover a broad government conspiracy against daunting odds—is familiar, Porter (Brandenburg Gate) invests it with urgency and power by taking current legislation drawn up to combat terrorism and projecting how it would play out if special interests and unscrupulous leaders used it to destroy the privacy of individuals. Shaken U.S. readers will wonder how much of the fiction might soon become fact on this side of the Atlantic. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Sixty years after the publication of George Orwell's 1984, Porter (Brandenburg Gate) turns to England's very near future in a chilling political thriller that is all the more frightening when one realizes that Orwell's dystopia has quietly become current reality. Expatriate lawyer Kate Lockhart returns to London to find that a close friend, David Eyam, the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, has apparently been killed in a terrorist attack. To her surprise, Eyam has left not only most of his estate to her but also a host of dangerous secrets. Before Eyam fell out of favor with Prime Minister John Temple, he had set up a secret and invasive data-mining system, now being misused by Temple and his corporate backers. With powerful forces allied against her, Kate and Eyam's "bell ringers" must risk death to save a country poised on the brink of a "vindictive technological totalitarianism." VERDICT A corrective read for anyone who feels more secure because of the Patriot Act, this gripping novel will appeal to readers of action-packed patriotic thrillers (think Brad Thor) as well as fans of David Baldacci and Brad Meltzer. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/09.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tuscon
Kirkus Reviews
After her former lover's death, an English spy turned high-powered New York lawyer discovers clues that point to a sinister conspiracy. Kate Lockhart is shocked to hear that David Eyam has been killed in a terrorist bombing in Colombia. But while the inquest seems to leave little doubt as to the immediate circumstances surrounding his death (the blast was captured on video), Kate still finds herself asking a number of questions. What was David doing in Colombia? Why had he suddenly left his senior post in the British government and relocated to a provincial village in Wales? Why did he leave a sizable amount of money to a local group of bell ringers? And why, considering the fact that he and Kate weren't exactly on speaking terms, did he make her the principal beneficiary in his will? When a packet of papers that David's attorney seems especially anxious to deliver to Kate are stolen from his office, these questions take on a new urgency, and they become positively life-or-death when the attorney is shot and killed immediately after leaving the cottage Kate just inherited from David. As she scrambles to make sense of recent events, Kate finds several clues David left behind pointing to a plot that might implicate high-ranking members of the British government, and as she nears the truth she finds herself in greater and greater danger. Porter (Brandenburg Gate, 2005, etc.) sets his story at an unspecified point in the next few years, and his vision of near-future England is chilling, primarily because it so closely resembles England today, with near-ubiquitous CCTV cameras (something like one for every 14 people) keeping British citizens under almost constant surveillance. While thenarrative occasionally bogs down in details, the prose sings, and fully fleshed characters unraveling a compelling mystery provide more than enough momentum to power through the slow bits. Gripping and chillingly realistic.
From the Publisher
"[An] outstanding near-future thriller.... Shaken U.S. [listeners] will wonder how much of the fiction might soon become fact on this side of the Atlantic." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802197955
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/11/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
557,408
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[An] outstanding near-future thriller.... Shaken U.S. [listeners] will wonder how much of the fiction might soon become fact on this side of the Atlantic." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >