Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Children's Game

The Children's Game by Max Karpov
Arcade Publishing: 3/13/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9781510734814

The Children's Game by Max Karpov is a highly recommended geo-political thriller, both timely and insightful, involving a Russian cyberattack on America.

Intelligence has learned that a cyberattack is imminent - perhaps already started. The attack is code-named the "Children’s Game," which is a chess strategy that results in a checkmate in four moves. The attack itself has been in the making for a long time and was the plan of Andrei Turov, a Russian billionaire and former FBS officer. He recruited operative Ivan Delkoff to organize the "game." In it public opinion will be  manipulated by informants spreading misinformation and fake news about a breaking news event, which will be followed by hackers and a cyberattack. This propaganda attack, via Russian hacker "science farms," will allow the Kremlin to take advantage of the freedom our republic gives the media and citizens, and use it to twist the truth in an effort to destroy us while restoring Russia's greatness.

Success is not a forgone conclusion, because the USA has a team to counteract the attack. Christopher Niles is called back to work on the case immediately. Niles, a former CIA intelligence officer, is on vacation in Greece with Anna Carpenter, a US senator and his significant other, when he is called away to talk to an informant in London.  He ends up returning back to work from retirement  Niles joins forces with Jon, his journalist half-brother who is also a special forces operative, and Anna, who has her own inside connections in the intelligence community, in order to uncover Turov's plot.

This is a well-written, fast paced, and timely thriller that explores the relationship between the USA and Russia. I would point out to casual readers that The Children's Game is really for fans of geo-political espionage thrillers. Karpov (a pseudonym for James Lilliefors) spent years researching US-Russian relationships while writing this thriller, and the research and attention to details shines through. What is especially relevant and chillingly plausible is the whole concept of using a cyberattack to spread  misinformation and fake news. Hello... During this time as the media twists things to suit their agenda already, how carefully do people check facts before spreading misinformation? How often do you pass on a meme or quick blurb before checking the validity of the information? If you are honest, not much... not much at all. And how susceptible are we to a similar attack of fake news happening and running out of control. Frighteningly, alarmingly close.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Arcade Publishing.

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