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Fault Line

by Barry Eisler
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Publishing date: 27/04/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780345505095
  • ISBN: 0345505093

Synopsis

Book Description
Silicon Valley: the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent drug deal. Istanbul: a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic call from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes he’ll be the next victim. And on the sun-drenched slopes of Sand Hill Road, California’s nerve center of money and technology, old family hurts sting anew as two brothers who share nothing but blood and bitterness wage a desperate battle against a faceless enemy.

Alex Treven has sacrificed everything to achieve his sole ambition: making partner in his high-tech law firm. But then the inventor of a technology Alex is banking on is murdered, the patent examiner who reviewed the innovation dies--and Alex himself narrowly escapes an attack in his own home. Off balance, out of ideas, and running out of time, he knows that the one person who can help him is the last person he’d ever ask: his brother.

Ben Treven is a military liaison element, an elite undercover soldier paid to “find, fix, and finish” high-value targets in the United States global war on terror.

Disenchanted with what he sees as America’s culture of denial and decadence, Ben lives his detached life in the shadows because the black ops world is all he really knows--and because other than Alex, whom he hasn’t spoken to since their mother died, his family is long gone.

But blood is thicker than water, and when Ben receives Alex’s frantic call he hurries to San Francisco to help him. Only then does Alex reveal that there’s another player who knows of the technology: Sarah Hosseini, a young Iranian American lawyer whom Alex has long secretly desired--and whom Ben immediately distrusts. As these three struggle to identify the forces attempting to silence them, Ben and Alex are forced to examine the events that drove them apart--even as Sarah’s presence, and her own secret yearnings, deepens the fault line between them.

A full-throttle thriller that is both emotionally and politically charged, Fault Line centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and onto the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped by only three people--three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they’ll first have to survive one another.


Barry Eisler on Fault Line

Fault Line, my first standalone, introduces military assassin Ben Treven, and my previous six books were a series centering around freelance assassin John Rain. Fault Line includes some pretty explicit sex, and the Rain series has its fair share, too. I think we have enough data now to be confident all these assassin stories with lots of sex in them are not just a coincidence. I get asked often what's behind these recurring elements. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.

I’m not sure exactly what draws me to characters like Rain and Ben. I think it’s that, on the one hand, they’re like you and me. They’re not sociopaths; they’re normal. And yet they’re not normal, because they can do--and live with--acts that would crush a normal psyche. I guess I’m drawn to the idea that a person can transcend--commit the ultimate transgression, in fact--without being punished for it. An ability like that would be an almost god-like kind of power, wouldn’t it? Raskolnikov without the guilt. Ahab without the catastrophe.

And yet these men aren’t free of consequences--there is a “cost of it,” as a Vietnam vet friend who’s taught me a lot puts it. That cost, and the way these men shoulder it, is something else that fascinates me, and that I try to reflect in my books. It's not just Rain grappling with the weight of what he's done; it's how it effects his ability to have a relationship with a woman--even a fellow professional like Delilah. And the wall Ben feels between men like himself and civilians creates a painful barrier between him and Sarah Hosseini--a barrier that will be put under tremendous pressure by their mutual attraction.

Okay, now sex...

There are three general ways to get to know someone’s character: time, stress, and sex. In a novel, you don’t have time, meaning you need an accelerant, and that leaves you with sex or stress. Violence is one of the most stressful experiences we humans can face, which is why violence can be such a powerful tool in stories. But sex is also enormously revealing, which is why the biblical euphemism that Abraham “knew” Sarah is so apt. Also, sex can be an incredibly powerful pivot. Sex changes everything. Remember when John Cusack and Ione Skye finally make love in Say Anything? Cusack then tries to pretend that it doesn’t matter that much, and Lili Taylor says to him something like, “Yes it does! It changes everything. Decades could go by without you seeing each other... and then, when you’re in your sixties, you might bump into each other, and you’ll say, 'Hi, how are you?' and she’ll say, 'Fine, how are you?,' but what you’ll really be thinking is, ‘We had sex!’”

Which is why I had so much of a blast with the buildup to what happens in Fault Line and with its culmination. These are characters caught for a variety of reasons between powerfully conflicting feelings of antagonism and attraction. They know they shouldn’t, they even tell themselves they don’t want to... and yet of course they do. What would happen to two people with feelings like that, pressurized by shared danger, enhanced by distrust, catalyzed by violence? Not going to tell you here... you’ll have to read the book to find out. --Barry Eisler

(Photo © Charles Bush)


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  • hours of my life I'll never get back
    From Amazon

    Don't bother with this book. While I really enjoyed the John Rain novels and continue to recommend them to friends, this book was a complete waste of time. The strength of Barry Eisler's writing has always been the fight scenes, and this book was didn't have many of those. The characters were cardboard and the book read even more like an advertisement for all of the self-defense websites and survivalists recognized in the book's acknowledgements pages.

  • Forget this one
    From Amazon

    I was a fan of the Rain series but this new attempt is dramatically poor in all respects: boring, predictable, shallow plot, cardboard characters, hard to finish. To save some space, I will incorporate all the one star reviews as my opinion also, and hope for improvement in future efforts.

  • Is it me - or does this seem like an early work?
    From Amazon

    Compared to his Rain books, this reads like an adolescent-level spy thriller, with cardboard characters and wooden dialogue. It's as if Eisler had this in "Reject" pile and re-worked it with current news and technology without injecting any life into it.

  • Slow start
    From Amazon

    This was the first of Barry Eisler's books that I have read, and when I started it I thought it would probably be my last. The writing in the first chapter did not have a "professional" feel to it. However, I soon was caught up in the story line. The major characters were people with very different personalities and backgrounds. Alex is a lawyer who has lived a structured and predictable life, trying to make partner in his law firm, but always living on the safe side and never taking chances. His estranged brother Ben works for the government as an undercover soldier/assassin. Sarah is a junior lawyer in Ben's firm and is of Iranian descent. When the developer of a new encryption software program is killed and the patent agent helping them to get the software patented dies unexpectedly at the same time, things begin to happen that throw the three unlikely people together in an attempt to find the killers before they also become victims. My only complaint is that there was a little more (although not a lot) "romance novel" in this story than I like. However, this is also a rather fast paced thriller with enough suspense and plot twists to keep the interest up to the very end. I suspect we will see more of these characters in the future, and I will look forward to meeting them again.

  • Good read
    From Amazon

    Good read, but not quite as good as the John Rain books. Eisler is hard to beat.

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