The advancement of technology can bring about many wonderful things. However, these potentially world-changing advancements are often supported by people who care about power more than they care about helping people or making the world a better place. In Enigma’s Virus by Gary Paul Garrett, the intertwining of politics and power-hungre individuals with technological research brings about problems that could very well change the world as we know it… and not for the better. Only a few people stand in the way of this destruction and they have to use their own technology to stop these terrible events.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book reads a little like science fiction meets techno-thriller. It has all the elements of a thriller—replete with secrets that the government is keeping, as well as people who are surprisingly well-equipped to stop them—and the technical pieces of a book focused more on technology and its effects than anything. Overall, the plot is fairly standard, which does not mean that it is uninteresting. In fact, I found the plot itself to be one of the best features of the book.
2. Thoughts on the main character
There are many characters in this book, which makes it rather difficult to determine which one is the main character. I believe that Keith or Tim are the two that I would nominate for the position and they are both likeable and extremely capable. However, I think this can be a little problematic, as they are often facing the same situations and sometimes deal with them in the exact same way. This makes things like individuality a little difficult to determine since the character responses are so similar. They are very unique in their connections to other characters, though, so that makes them quite distinct.
3. Favourite part
My favourite piece of this book is probably a tie with the technical pieces (because who doesn’t love science) and the relationship that develops between Keith and Allie (incidentally the daughter of our villain). I think that lends this book a little bit of the human aspect which otherwise is a little flat in this book. Other characters have relationships and close connections with other characters, but none of them feel very deep or memorable compared to the one between Keith and Allie.
I think there are a few larger problems with this book. One is that the prose itself is a little difficult to follow. Events happen that make sense, then the next paragraph has more events that came out of nowhere. It feels almost like a jump in logical sequence with the story. Another critique is that there are certain plot holes that were not filled and make the credibility of this story hard to swallow. One such example is the Presidential security being almost non-existent, allowing certain events to happen when otherwise they wouldn’t. My main critique, though, is that the villain, who sets the events in the book in motion, feels like nothing more than a garden variety pervert. He does not seem capable enough to do most of the things that are attributed to him. He just seems like a person with anger issues who could not have possibly gotten to where he is without someone else pulling the strings. The other question with this villain is…why? Why is he so interested in this technology? Why did he invest in it? What’s the purpose? All of that seems to be missing. Unfortunately, with the villain being so difficult to believe, that makes the rest of the story equally difficult to swallow because none of the characters would be in that situation if the villain made logical sense with the description given.
Overall, I liked the plot and the main characters. This book feels like a standard techno-thriller/science fiction piece that you would find at your bookstore. But, with the unbelievability of the villain and his motivations, I would have to say that this book sits between AVERAGE and FAIR.