In Duplicity, one man will use his position and power to kill the terrorist mastermind responsible for killing his wife and son and injuring his daughter, while the President will stop at nothing to win re-election. When these two goals intersect, it isn’t surprising that political mayhem and pre-meditated murder follow.
Political thrillers have always intrigued me because I enjoy learning about the inner-workings of Washington DC. In this regard, Duplicity did not disappoint. In fact, I learned more than I ever wanted to know. Duplicity illustrates ways the appetite for power can blur the lines between good and evil.
Duplicity has multiple settings. As one would expect, Washington DC is a major part of the plot, but the novel has an international appeal as well because London and Somalia make appearances. Somalia is where most of the action takes place and, to the authors’ credit, the reader can almost feel the oppressive corruption and squalor of the African country. The attention to detail makes clear that the story is well-researched and adds believability to the narrative.
Duplicity is told through multiple viewpoints. In the beginning, it is a challenge to keep track of so many of them. However, the different points of view quickly become strengths, due to the diverse locations involved. More importantly, the diverse backgrounds of the characters allow each one to have a unique voice and personality.
The dialogue in Duplicity is used, at times, to communicate important knowledge, and information germane to the plot, but, occasionally, it slows the story down. These conversations are also used to reveal characters’ motivations, most of which expose the dark side of human nature.
As a result, Duplicity has a murky tone from the beginning, giving the novel more than just a suspenseful feel. All the characters are trying desperately to attain something, and most will do anything to get it. The plot of the novel has many twists and turns, and the obstacles seem to increase with every choice made and every consequence realized while characters attempt to achieve their goals at any cost.
Therefore the conflict in Duplicity is balanced between external events and internal desires. There is very little focus on character growth, and the characters are a bit one-dimensional and not as sympathetic as they could be. The romantic tension is present, but it is almost dealt with in passing and seems to appeal to the basest of human nature. Most of the action-based conflict is resolved toward the end in true thriller fashion, but there are plotlines which remain unresolved. This leads me to wonder if there is a sequel on the horizon.
Although there are allusions to the Christian heritage of the country and the ideals of traditional America, there is little spiritual value in the novel. The good-versus-evil theme is prevalent and the gray area of “the greater good” is explored. However, the authors shy away from making any definite value judgments, leaving this reader to wonder what exactly they are trying to communicate.
Duplicity is a stand-alone novel geared for a secular audience. There is an extra-marital affair and violent scenes that are not gratuitous, however, the subject matter that may be disturbing to some readers. Those who love political and international thrillers will find it a well-written page-turning read.
I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.