It must be a little unusual when a book begins with the death of the main character and the book’s driving force. In ‘The Dying Light’s case, David Eyam. A phenomenally intelligent man, not always easy to like or love, but certainly one of the leading brains of his, or many other, generations. A government advisor at the time of his death, he has uncovered a very worrying secret. A secret plan, directed from the very heart of government, with the help of those at the top of big business, to track and trace, control and nullify the opinions and will of the people. A plan to watch over people, right under their noses.
Whilst the book opens in a perhaps little unusual way, unfortunately the story is all too depressingly real and possible. It is what reviewers call ‘timely.’ In that everything to fulfill the warnings the book is making, is already with us and it is a situation we are already willingly sleepwalking into. I think, at the heart of the book it revolves around the ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ mantra, sold to us as being for our own safety and ultimate benefit by corporations and politicians. And that we are too numb to do anything but buy.
The book has a perhaps very serious and concerning message behind and under it, but it is also a well-written, carefully thought out and plotted thriller. Languid and evocative in parts, hectic and tense in others. Information is revealed slowly and peeled away in layers to get at the full truth underneath. I did feel it sagged a little in the middle sections and there were a couple of times where I thought I was getting to the conclusions a long time before the characters really should have been, given their intelligence and access to all the same facts as me, but it picks it all up again and runs away with the prize towards the final ‘that’ll show them they can’t muck around with us’ climax. I’ll certainly be looking for more books by Henry Porter. I’ll recommend you do too.