Occasionally, you pick up a thriller that grabs you by the throat on the first page and refuses to let go until the last. This is not one of those books. Rather, The Devil's Game grabs you at the outset and doesn't let go, period. Sean Chercover has written here a book that is so in tune with the dangerous and confusing world that we live in today that once you finish the book, you're still scared to death.
The protagonist is Daniel Byrne, a former priest, who cut his teeth as an investigator for the Vatican probing into the details of alleged miracles, attempting to discern the false from the true. In his entire career, Daniel never found a "miracle" that proved to be genuine, and then his own uncle, Tim Trinity, proved to be the apparent exception.
Trinity was a scam artist, working as an evangelist, who suddenly developed the genuine ability to predict the future. The development shook Daniel's faith to the core and, when Trinity was assassinated, Daniel was drawn into a world of deadly international conspiracies where wealthy and powerful people work behind the scenes, manipulating human affairs for their own benefit, irrespective of the consequences for the rest of humanity as a whole.
Daniel joins the Fleur-de-Lis Foundation, which is in mortal combat with a group known as the Council for World Peace. Each group is desperate to control the phenomenon that took possession of Tim Trinity before his death, and each is willing to do anything to win the race, no matter the cost. The members of the Fleur-de-Lis Foundation are allegedly the good guys, but in fairly short order, Daniel is left to wonder if he's been recruited by the guys who are merely less-bad.
The phenomenon that Tim Trinity experienced before his death is known as Anomalous Information Transfer, or AIT, and it may be induced by a certain strain of plague. This is not good news for the poor souls who may wind up as the guinea pigs in this experiment. The Council for World Peace may have plans to infect a large population with the plague in order to gain control of those victims who develop AIT. Daniel's job is to stop them, and it's going to be no small task.
Once Daniel is set on the trail of the Council for World Peace and its nefarious minions, the tension never lets up and you find yourself turning page after page as quickly as you can. This is a very cleverly plotted and well-written book with interesting characters, and it's a terrific read. But what makes the book so compelling is that it seems so timely given the developments around the world, even in the last few weeks.
On the one hand, the plot may seem a bit over the top, but on the other, it makes one really wonder about the way in which governments respond to terrorist threats and about what's really going on behind the scenes. Checover describes a scenario that is plausible enough to make a reader at least think about the extent to which one can really trust the government agencies that are assigned to protect us, and that is the scariest part of all. All in all, a great read.