“The Fourth Order” by Stephen Frey
Rating: 3 WaterTowers (a more deliberate Frey)
“The Fourth Order” is a secret government “gray ops” agency that has been activated only four times since the Civil War. The object of the Order is to protect the United States…by any means possible. Including kidnapping, torture, and……… murder.
Unlike other Stephen Frey books, “The Fourth Order” takes a more leisurely approach (for Frey) for the first 250 pages or so. Character development takes precedence over the full-out action Stephen Frey is famous for (at least in my mind). However, with about 100 pages to go, Frey fires up the afterburners and the book takes off as if catapulted off an aircraft carrier. The only thing you can do is hang on and enjoy the ride.
Michael Rose is the CFO of Trafalgar Industries. He, along with colleague David Cortez, are planning another takeover. This time the target is CIS Technologies, an information technology firm. Since Trafalgar is not in the information business, there will be some questioning by the board when Michael and David present their case for the takeover.
Michael has no idea how much his world will change.
Michael is in a marriage on idle, to Sheila, with two children: Glenn and Jamie. One night, after a day of sex and drugs with her lover, Sheila is run off the road on the way home. She survives the crash, but, the car that ran her off the road stops, and the person driving breaks Sheila’s neck….killing her.
CIS Technologies happens to be the cover for the Order’s super secret Spyder computer application that tracks every financial transaction in the world. Ostensibly used to discover and stop terrorist attacks, we find out that sometimes Spyder is used by the powerful to eliminate their foes.
“The Fourth Order” will do anything to stop the Traflagar takeover (and thus preserve the Order’s secrets), while the people behind Rose will do anything to ecourage the takeover (so the secrets will be uncovered and those responsible taken down).
This conflict of interest puts Michael and his family in danger….and costs the lives of hundreds of innocent people.
Stephen Frey is one of my favorite authors (ok, ok…I have a lot of favorites….so many books so little time 🙂 and I have been reading his books since his first.
“The Fourth Order” is a scary account of the power the Government can yield (for good or bad). Interestingly, because I am a retired DOE employee, Frey includes several Department of Energy locations (with slightly modified names) where the Order carries out it’s evil deeds.
The ending of “The Fourth Order” is typical Frey: Brutal, efficient, scary, and catapult fast.