Sunday, December 30, 2018
Book Review: 'Agents of the Third Party: The Beginning' by Arthur David
‘The Third Party is an organization that likes to work behind the scenes for the betterment of mankind.’
California author Arthur David moved from Southern California up to the Bay Area and began to write. His rear of interest is science fiction and fantasy: Star Trek, Star Wars and Science Fiction are his favorites. AGENTS OF THE THIRD PARTY is his debut novel.
Arthur’s ideas for characters entertain us with their personalities and their use of parody that make this novel hum along at a fine pace. Much of this is the at times raw language and rhythm, but the flow is propulsive and matches the story line.
Reading the opening lines gives a fine invitation to the story – ‘You might not know this, but New York is really loud, no matter what time of day or year it is. There’s a reason it's called the city that never sleeps. People here don’t go to sleep. Well, obviously, people do sleep at some point, but there are always enough people up at any given time that things are still crowded. Even though it's Tuesday night. All right, tonight is not like any other Tuesday night, It’s New Year’s Eve, and New York is party central for like, the entire world or something. Never mind that it's already been the new year for most the rest of the world. London’s already passed out from their parties, but the world is still watching New York. Even those uptight, PC hippies out in California are watching us. I’m not sure what's so fascinating about it, the same thing happens every year. Ryan Seacrest gets on his high horse and acts like it's the greatest night of the year (though I suppose for Seacrest it might be, ever since Dick Clark let him take over) while whatever the latest, greatest pop act of the moment plays on some stage or other. There’s a giant mirror ball that should have gone out of style after the 1970’s, just like disco did, that hits bottom after a countdown from ten that signals that it is now the New Year in New York, and screw everywhere else where it’s already tomorrow. Okay, it’s possible that I’m a little jaded over the whole New Year’s celebration. To be honest, my original plan had been to be there in Times Square getting drunk, wearing a sparkly hat and stupid 2048 glasses, and kissing some random stranger that would hopefully be a guy (depending on how drunk I am) while rocking out to the latest, greatest pop sensation. Unfortunately, my superiors at The Third Party had other ideas. So instead of enjoying being twenty-five like I should be, I am using the party (the one in Times Square, not the organization I work for) as a cover to break into the Rand Corporation. Perhaps I should be grateful. Times Square had become more and more obnoxious over the years. Times Square has always been an epicenter of consumerism. Stores of all types, giant billboards and televisions advertising some thing or other. Eventually advertisers had realized that technologies like SIRI could be combined with holographic spokespeople. Now rather than just having a giant television tell you could save fifteen percent on your insurance, a holographic gecko wanders around times square talking to people about it. However it irks me that not only could I not be in the party (pun not intended, I am in The Party. Okay, I’ll stop that now.)
But on to the storyline – with Arthur’s penchant for fantasy – ‘Blackmail has spent her entire adult life dedicated to The Third Party - a secret organization dedicated to moving humanity towards a future where hunger, poverty, and war no longer exist. An organization so dedicated to its ideals that the ends justify the means, no matter how atrocious. Her dedication has made her one of The Party’s top agents and they have tasked her with training a young woman, Jade, whom they believe has the potential to be just as good if not better than Blackmail. But when The Party sends them on a mission that goes horribly wrong it will forever change Blackmail, Jade, and The Third Party forever.’
Considerable energy and entertainment from a very promising new author.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.