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The Quest
Nelson DeMille

Hachette Book Group
September 17, 2013/ ISBN 9781455576425


Reviewed by Elise Cooper

The prolific author Nelson DeMille uses his experiences as a former history major and Viet Nam veteran to write compelling stories. His latest book, The Quest, draws upon events of the 1970s. Readers will find it fascinating how this book and many of his other books can be compared to today.

The Quest is a reminder of the brutality of Marxist regimes. The setting is Ethiopia during the 1970s as the 3000-year-old dynasty came to an end at the hands of the Marxists rebels. Just as today, the ruthlessness of the African and Muslim nations is emphasized as he writes about the revolution, in the quote, “Men like that are taking over the world…what the hell has gone wrong.” In explaining it, DeMille notes, “They just shot three hundred members of the royal family. I wanted to write how Marxists typically tried to kill and eliminate the aristocracy. The brutality against the ruling class was a knee jerk reaction, which unraveled that society. The violence can be a history lesson for today when all this cruelty is being inflicted on the Coptic Christians in Egypt and Syria. I find it interesting that no one is saying anything about this yet during the Serbian-Bosnian War, when the Muslims were killed, everyone was outraged.”

The book also gives readers a strong flavor of the 1970s. DeMille considers that decade very depressing considering the defeat in Viet Nam, the gas shortages, and the super inflation. He thinks that era began “the erosion of American supremacy, including Western values and culture that led to political instability in the world. Look no further than the Middle East where demagogues took advantage and came to power. Just as today, in the 1970s, there were weak Presidents in both Ford and Carter. We were lucky, because America elected Ronald Reagan who was able to bring back America’s status.”

Many of his books discuss the current threat of Islamic extremists. His early books, such as The Lion’s Game, published in 2000, are cautionary tales, a wake-up call to the dangers. Last year he wrote a gripping tale, The Panther, that is based in Yemen, has the USS Cole as a backdrop, and is about fanatical Muslims. Showing Yemen as a backward country culturally he hopes readers will comprehend how “the Muslim religion has not evolved into the 20th and 21st Centuries. The way they treat women, their political system, and the culture leaves no room for diversity.” There is also his anger over the political correctness of the politicians, as stated in the book, “The Navy’s Rules of Engagement that were rewritten by some committee of politically correct, ball-less wonders in the bowels of the Pentagon.”

Another of his books, Night Fall, (2004) is about TWA Flight 800. This past July a documentary asked questions about the reasons why TWA Flight 800 crashed. But DeMille raised these questions much earlier. In the back of his mind he thinks a missile brought the plane down. The book makes a convincing argument by referring to the more than two hundred eyewitnesses who reported they saw a rocket. He stated, “Someone I know was on a yacht with his family. His young son pointed out the “fireworks,” which everyone said later was a rocket that exploded. What I cannot believe is how the FBI used 19th century technology to interview the witnesses. Statements were taken down with a note pad instead of videotaping or at least audiotaping their recollections. This is ridiculous considering something of this magnitude. The effect of the current documentary is that there is much more of an impact when you see and hear what people said instead of reading a transcript.”

A few of his books including The Talbot Odyssey and The Charm School centered around the Cold War. In his next book he hopes to show how the Russians are still the bad guys even though the Cold War has ended. “Putin was able to regain power and take the advantage because of the weakness projected by this administration. Everyone is up in arms about what Putin said about America’s exceptionalism but forget Obama said the same thing. He never learned how to be a Commander-in-Chief.”

Whether writing about current events or past incidents, as in The Quest, DeMille sounds the alarm. He reminds his readers of the brutality of nations due in large part to their Dark Ages ideology.

Reviewed 2013