A shocking scientific discovery.
A conspiracy of staggering brilliance.
A thriller unlike any you've ever read....
When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory -- a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the President, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a deadly team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.
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About the Author
Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons, and Inferno. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts to writing full-time. He lives in New England with his wife. Visit his website at DanBrown.com.
Date of Birth:June 22, 1964
Place of Birth:Exeter, New Hampshire
Education:Phillips Exeter Academy 1982; B.A., Amherst College, 1986; University of Seville, Spain
Read an Excerpt
Toulos Restaurant, adjacent to Capitol Hill, boasts a politically incorrect menu of baby veal and horse carpaccio, making it an ironic hotspot for the quintessential Washingtonian power breakfast. This morning Toulos was busy -- a cacophony of clanking silverware, espresso machines, and cellphone conversations.
The maitre d' was sneaking a sip of his morning Bloody Mary when the woman entered. He turned with a practiced smile.
"Good morning," he said. "May I help you?"
The woman was attractive, in her mid-thirties, wearing gray, pleated flannel pants, conservative flats, and an ivory Laura Ashley blouse. Her posture was straight -- chin raised ever so slightly -- not arrogant, just strong. The woman's hair was light brown and fashioned in Washington's most popular style -- the "anchorwoman" -- a lush feathering, curled under at the shoulders...long enough to be sexy, but short enough to remind you she was probably smarter than you.
"I'm a little late," the woman said, her voice unassuming. "I have a breakfast meeting with Senator Sexton."
The maitre d' felt an unexpected tingle of nerves. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The senator was a regular here and currently one of the country's most famous men. Last week, having swept all twelve Republican primaries on Super Tuesday, the senator was virtually guaranteed his party's nomination for President of the United States. Many believed the senator had a superb chance of stealing the White House from the embattled President next fall. Lately Sexton's face seemed to be on every national magazine, his campaign slogan plastered all across America: "Stop spending. Start mending."
"Senator Sexton is in his booth," the maitre d' said. "And you are?"
"Rachel Sexton. His daughter."
How foolish of me, he thought. The resemblance was quite apparent. The woman had the senator's penetrating eyes and refined carriage -- that polished air of resilient nobility. Clearly the senator's classic good looks had not skipped generations, although Rachel Sexton seemed to carry her blessings with a grace and humility her father could learn from.
"A pleasure to have you, Ms. Sexton."
As the maitre d' led the senator's daughter across the dining area, he was embarrassed by the gauntlet of male eyes following her...some discreet, others less so. Few women dined at Toulos and even fewer who looked like Rachel Sexton.
"Nice body," one diner whispered. "Sexton already find himself a new wife?"
"That's his daughter, you idiot," another replied.
The man chuckled. "Knowing Sexton, he'd probably screw her anyway."
When Rachel arrived at her father's table, the senator was on his cellphone talking loudly about one of his recent successes. He glanced up at Rachel only long enough to tap his Cartier and remind her she was late.
I missed you, too, Rachel thought.
Her father's first name was Thomas, although he'd adopted his middle name long ago. Rachel suspected it was because he liked the alliteration. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The man was a silver-haired, silver-tongued political animal who had been anointed with the slick look of soap opera doctor, which seemed appropriate considering his talents of impersonation.
"Rachel!" Her father clicked off his phone and stood to kiss her cheek.
"Hi, Dad." She did not kiss him back.
"You look exhausted."
And so it begins, she thought. "I got your message. What's up?"
"I can't ask my daughter out for breakfast?"
Rachel had learned long ago her father seldom requested her company unless he had some ulterior motive.
Sexton took a sip of coffee. "So, how are things with you?"
"Busy. I see your campaign's going well."
"Oh, let's not talk business." Sexton leaned across the table, lowering his voice. "How's that guy at the State Department I set you up with?"
Rachel exhaled, already fighting the urge to check her watch. "Dad, I really haven't had time to call him. And I wish you'd stop trying to -- "
"You've got to make time for the important things, Rachel. Without love, everything else is meaningless."
A number of comebacks came to mind, but Rachel chose silence. Being the bigger person was not difficult when it came to her father. "Dad, you wanted to see me? You said this was important."
"It is." Her father's eyes studied her closely.
Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away under his gaze, and she cursed the man's power. The senator's eyes were his gift -- a gift Rachel suspected would probably carry him to the White House. On cue, his eyes would well with tears, and then, an instant later, they would clear, opening a window to an impassioned soul, extending a bond of trust to all. It's all about trust, her father always said. The senator had lost Rachel's years ago, but he was quickly gaining the country's.
"I have a proposition for you," Senator Sexton said.
"Let me guess," Rachel replied, attempting to refortify her position. "Some prominent divorcé looking for a young wife?"
"Don't kid yourself, honey. You're not that young anymore."
Rachel felt the familiar shrinking sensation that so often accompanied meetings with her father.
"I want to throw you a life raft," he said.
"I wasn't aware I was drowning."
"You're not. The President is. You should jump ship before it's too late."
"Haven't we had this conversation?"
"Think about your future, Rachel. You can come work for me."
"I hope that's not why you asked me to breakfast."
The senator's veneer of calm broke ever so slightly. "Rachel, can't you see that your working for him reflects badly on me. And on my campaign."
Rachel sighed. She and her father had been through this. "Dad, I don't work for the President. I haven't even met the President. I work in Fairfax, for God's sake!"
"Politics is perception, Rachel. It appears you work for the President."
Rachel exhaled, trying to keep her cool. "I worked too hard to get this job, Dad. I'm not quitting."
The senator's eyes narrowed. "You know, sometimes your selfish attitude really -- "
"Senator Sexton?" A reporter materialized beside the table.
Sexton's demeanor thawed instantly. Rachel groaned and took a croissant from the basket on the table.
"Ralph Sneeden," the reporter said. "Washington Post. May I ask you a few questions?"
The senator smiled, dabbing his mouth with a napkin. "My pleasure, Ralph. Just make it quick. I don't want my coffee getting cold."
The reporter laughed on cue. "Of course, sir." He pulled out a minirecorder and turned it on. "Senator, your television ads call for legislation ensuring equal salaries for women in the workplace...as well as for tax cuts for new families. Can you comment on your rationale?"
"Sure. I'm simply a huge fan of strong women and strong families."
Rachel practically choked on her croissant.
"And on the subject of families," the reporter followed up, "you talk a lot about education. You've proposed some highly controversial budget cuts in an effort to allocate more funds to our nation's schools."
"I believe the children are our future."
Rachel could not believe her father had sunk to quoting pop songs.
"Finally, sir," the reporter said, "you've taken an enormous jump in the polls these past few weeks. The President has got to be worried. Any thoughts on your recent success?"
"I think it has to do with trust. Americans are starting to see that the President cannot be trusted to make the tough decisions facing this nation. Runaway government spending is putting this country deeper in debt every day, and Americans are starting to realize that it's time to stop spending and start mending."
Like a stay of execution from her father's rhetoric, the pager in Rachel's handbag went off. Normally the harsh electronic beeping was an unwelcome interruption, but at the moment, it sounded almost melodious.
The senator glared indignantly at having been interrupted.
Rachel fished the pager from her handbag and pressed a preset sequence of five buttons, confirming that she was indeed the person holding the pager. The beeping stopped, and the LCD began blinking. In fifteen seconds she would receive a secure text message.
Sneeden grinned at the senator. "Your daughter is obviously a busy woman. It's refreshing to see you two still find time in your schedules to dine together."
"As I said, family comes first."
Sneeden nodded, and then his gaze hardened. "Might I ask, sir, how you and your daughter manage your conflicts of interest?"
"Conflicts?" Senator Sexton cocked his head with an innocent look of confusion. "What conflicts do you mean?"
Rachel glanced up, grimacing at her father's act. She knew exactly where this was headed. Damn reporters, she thought. Half of them were on political payrolls. The reporter's question was what journalists called a grapefruit -- a question that was supposed to look like a tough inquiry but was in fact a scripted favor to the senator -- a slow lob pitch that her father could line up and smash out of the park, clearing the air about a few things.
"Well, sir..." The reporter coughed, feigning uneasiness over the question. "The conflict is that your daughter works for your opponent."
Senator Sexton exploded in laughter, defusing the question instantly. "Ralph, first of all, the President and I are not opponents. We are simply two patriots who have different ideas about how to run the country we love."
The reporter beamed. He had his sound bite. "And second?"
"Second, my daughter is not employed by the President; she is employed by the intelligence community. She compiles intel reports and sends them to the White House. It's a fairly low-level position." He paused and looked at Rachel. "In fact, dear, I'm not sure you've even met the President, have you?"
Rachel stared, her eyes smoldering.
The beeper chirped, drawing Rachel's gaze to the incoming message on the LCD screen.
-- RPRT DIRNRO STAT --
She deciphered the shorthand instantly and frowned. The message was unexpected, and most certainly bad news. At least she had her exit cue.
"Gentlemen," she said. "It breaks my heart, but I have to go. I'm late for work."
"Ms. Sexton," the reporter said quickly, "before you go, I was wondering if you could comment on the rumors that you called this breakfast meeting to discuss the possibility of leaving your current post to work for your father's campaign?"
Rachel felt like someone had thrown hot coffee in her face. The question took her totally off guard. She looked at her father and sensed in his smirk that the question had been prepped. She wanted to climb across the table and stab him with a fork.
The reporter shoved the recorder into her face. "Miss Sexton?"
Rachel locked eyes with the reporter. "Ralph, or whoever the hell you are, get this straight: I have no intention of abandoning my job to work for Senator Sexton, and if you print anything to the contrary, you'll need a shoehorn to get that recorder out of your ass."
The reporter's eyes widened. He clicked off his recorder, hiding a grin. "Thank you both." He disappeared.
Rachel immediately regretted the outburst. She had inherited her father's temper, and she hated him for it. Smooth, Rachel. Very smooth.
Her father glared disapprovingly. "You'd do well to learn some poise."
Rachel began collecting her things. "This meeting is over."
The senator was apparently done with her anyway. He pulled out his cellphone to make a call. " 'Bye, sweetie. Stop by the office one of these days and say hello. And get married, for God's sake. You're thirty-three years old."
"Thirty-four," she snapped. "Your secretary sent a card."
He clucked ruefully. "Thirty-four. Almost an old maid. You know by the time I was thirty-four, I'd already -- "
"Married mom and screwed the neighbor?" The words came out louder than Rachel had intended, her voice hanging naked in an ill-timed lull. Diners nearby glanced over.
Senator Sexton's eyes flash-froze, two ice-crystals boring into her. "You watch yourself, young lady."
Rachel headed for the door. No, you watch yourself, senator.
Copyright © 2001 by Dan Brown
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is simply wonderful, and I would even venture to say it is Brown's best work so far. A thrilling tale that takes the reader on an intellectual adventure.
The plot involves Rachel Sexton, an employee for the National Reconnaissance Office, who is called upon by the President to help with a new discovery. Along with several civic scientists, Rachel travels to the Arctic. The new discovery is of a meteorite discovered by NASA in the Arctic ice. While in the Arctic, Rachel and her new companions notice some curious details, which could ultimately lead to a political disaster for the President. Before she can contact the President, assassins attack Rachel and her companions. While fleeing for their lives, Rachel and her companions discover who is behind the plot to fool the country. Sexton maintains his own agenda during this process, deceiving even those who are close to him. This book really pulls the reader into the story, providing the reader with a quick and easy book to read. I had a tough time putting the book down, and loved the blend of fact and fiction that Brown included throughout the entire novel. This book is suited for anyone with some free time looking to read a quality book with some unexpected plot twists.
Excellent government cover up story. Lots of action, twists and turns, corrupt officials with secret agendas. Dan Brown never lets you down - always a fantastic read.
Being a person who hasn't had a passion for reading this book has help me start three others this month and develop a true desire to read and pursue and grow. The Book gives great thrills while still allowing you to get to know the characters and becoming attached to them. I never wanted to set it down my curiosity kept me reading until the end.
Action packed and full of suspense. Likewise with all Dan Brown novels you won't be disappointed.
Like most of Dan Brown's books, the story kept you on edge and constantly wondering what would happen next. It had a pleasant blend of romance, suspense, and adventure along with science involved. Highly recommended read.
Asonishing read, classic dan brown suspence
Thriller is one of my absolute favorite genres. There is something mind blowing about reading a good, well researched thriller and for me, Dan Brown is always on the forefront. I've read three of his Robert Langdon books and I've ended up being awestruck on each occasion. The plot of this particular book is extremely well executed. It is a sensible mixture of science and technology and casts an honest light on human psychology. It shows the limits to which a person can go to save something in which he/she believes vehemently in and an analysis of the level of deceit portrayed in this book is quite scary. Like all other books of Dan Brown, this book too shows the story unraveling in a parallel method : different incidents happening at the same time in different places. It has an extremely fast paced storyline leaving your mind reeling at the most unseeming places, gripping you from the very first page and making it difficult to put the book down. In terms of characters, all of them are all multi-layered. Rachel Sexton has turned out to be my least favorite out of all the Dan Brown books that I've read. She is the protagonist but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be so. She is helpless in most cases and there are only a handful of situations in which she acts as the lead that she, in fact, is. She wouldn't have been able to do anything if it weren't for Michael Tolland and Corky Marlinson. They are the real brains. It is all the non-protagonists who actually take all the thunder in this story. I'd say Deception Point was a fulfilling read. I went into it expecting a page turner and that's what I got. I'm always in awe of the amount of research that Dan Brown does for a novel and this one also falls into the category. For me, his Robert Langdon novels have set the bar really high and this one falls just a little short of reaching that level. I'd strongly recommend picking up any of his books if you are looking for a mind blowing thriller (preferably, The Da Vinci Code).
540 pages of non-stop, heart-pounding suspense. Plot twists and turns with cliff-hanger chapters that keep you wanting more. I simply couldn’t put it down. Dan Brown is one of the best! You won’t be disappointed with his books. Well written. Well edited.
Very exciting! Well done. It just seemed so real. Although I read it long ago it just sticks with me. My favorite work of Dan Browns!
This is an amazing read where you never end up where you thought!
It's a decent read, but after reading his other books this one just didn't hit the spot and was a bit rough to read through. The plot was far fetched and I just couldn't relate much to the characters.
This is not dan's best work. The only issue i have is the lack if believability with some of the characters actions' and words to eachother. Save that - great ending!
Although some of the terminology went over my head, it definitely reignited my passion for reading. It's been quite a dry spell where nothing quite caught my attention... until I found Deception Point. Having read Dan Browns more popular works, I do believe this was better - Great characters and lot's of action! I was truly exhausted after reading a few intense scenes... Highly recommended.
This is the first book I have read of Dan Brown's, but it definately will not be the last - am already considering others - I couldnt put it down, and due to the NASA and weapons etc that are mentioned in the book, I even think the hubby would like this book (and he usually only reads magazines) cant keep his interest long enough to read a whole book, but this one would definately keep his interest. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes suspense, intrigue etc. Way to go Dan
This is by far his best work! It is spellbinding, filled with twists and turns and the proverbial rug being pulled from underneath one at every chapter! Loved it, could hardly put it down, resented when I had to, and ran to start reading again as soon as possible.
Every page was exciting...never a dull moment...LOVE this author!
yet an other Great story by Dan Brown!
it took me a good 100 pages to really care about what was going on but once I did, then I couldn't put the book down. Great twists and turns. Suspenseful and exciting. Thanks Dan!
this is actually my favorite dan brown book. suspenful from the beginning you never want to put it down
dan brown does it again
I loved this book. It was very suspensvile and entertaining. it was sooo good. i loved it and recomend it for everyone!!
When you have a presidential election on the rise, candidates are willing to do anything to beat the living snot out of each other. Senator Sexton knows this all too well as he attempts to bring down President Herney by convincing the American populace that the President cannot make financial decisions worthwhile to the country. Part of Sexton's campaign is to also drag down and privatize NASA due to Herney's overly generous funds to the space program. Just when all seems lost for Herney's side of the election, an astounding discovery had been made by NASA's PODS orbital scanner in the form of a meteorite that may contain traces of extraterrestrial life. Rachel Sexton, the Senator's daughter (whom happens not to favor her father's campaign) is called over to investigate the find as an unbiased party. However, as the space program celebrates its eventual victory, Rachel and several other civilian scientists discover that the find isn't necessarily what it seems on the outside. The only entities standing in their way of preventing a lie bigger than the cosmos themselves from spreading across the nation happen to be the most elite fighting force any top-ranking government official can put into action. Delta-One, Delta-Two, and Delta-Three are a secluded team of hyper lethal vectors don't plan on allowing the secret to be released... This book is one of the best I've ever read. Conspiracy theories and scientific theories galore. If you're looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend picking this book up.
Demanding, many clues, scientific data realistic. Hovering plot.
Having heard so much about Dan Brown and never read any of his books, I decided to start with his smart thriller, Deception Point. In this book, the main character Rachel Sexton, along with a myriad of colorful characters, becomes wrapped up in a scientific cover-up that has major political ramification for the up coming election, in which Rachel's father is running. Brown broke up the story into two main story lines, one having to do with the action, and the other dealing with the politics. I found the latter to be much more boring, but necessary. One thing I found disturbing was Browns over use of the word "stark". I understand the meaning of it and it fits in many situations but its a word that one would normally not hear in everyday conversation or even in a lot of books. It was as if Brown had a word of the day calendar and liked that word and just decided to use it. I haven't counted exactly but I think it would be safe to say he used it more than 15 times in the book. Maybe it's just me, but it bugged me. Some of the character development felt forced especially the Michael Tolland and his dead wife situation. Overall, however, most the characters were given very vivid physical and personality descriptions. The story was very original, very intriguing, and the plot twists were shocking. Brown used the short chapters to his advantage by leaving a cliff hanger after almost ever scene while he alternated between the two story lines. It was frustrating to left wanting more but have to read about something completely unrelated, but it also makes the reader want to read on so it is effective. I would give this book 3 3/4 out of 5 stars. I would only recommend this book to people who don't mind having their minds blown.