Light by David Ricciardi creates a Jack Ryan type character
that is on the run from Iranians. Readers are reminded of
a former TV series The Fugitive, with this novel being a 21stCentury
re-make, foreign style. The protagonist, Zac Miller, has to
become a survivalist in order to escape.
Ricciardi enjoys the outdoors and wanted to write about something
“I know about and I am at home around nature. I spend
a lot of time in the woods and desert. Once my family and
I took a plane that dropped us off in Alaska. We were alone,
without any technology, put in the middle of nowhere, twenty-five
miles from the nearest road. This is something I wanted to
share with readers, which is why I wrote this book quote,
‘In an age where there is a GPS in every car, and place,
I (Zac) had to make my way navigating with the sun.’
The feeling of trying to survive is what I wanted to convey.
What drove Zac can best be described by the Winston Churchill
quote, “When you are going through hell, by all means,
is a CIA analyst whonormally works behind a desk. He has some
preparation because of the Agency requirement that all have
to undergo basic hand-to-hand combat skills, Thanks to a month
of training he underwent at the CIA’s clandestine operations
training facility at Camp Perry, Virginia, Zac was somewhat
equipped.He decided on impulse to volunteer to have his boss,
Peter Clements send him on a quick mission, to take a few
long-distance photos of a secret Iranian nuclear complex.
Due to severe mechanical issues, created as a decoy, a commercial
flight heading to Singapore is forced to make an emergency
landing in the heart of Iran’s forbidden zone. Zac takes
a few pictures of the mountain and the sunset but unfortunately
for him, it caught the attention of the Iranian military.
He was brought in for questioning because they believe his
intentions are more than innocent. After being taken prisoner
the Iranians drug, torture, threaten, beat and abuse him.
Knowing if he does not escape he will die he finds a way to
overwhelm his captives. This is where the adventure begins.
To show the corruptness of the Iranian regime, “I wrote
how they want to undermine these societies that don’t
agree with their belief system. They are the biggest sponsor
of state terrorism as the military and religious leaders run
the place. They have starved their own people so they can
build nuclear weapons. Anyone who voices disagreement gets
arrested and locked up.”
is very believable since many Americans including tourists,
hikers, and businessmen have been captured and tortured by
the Iranians as they accuse them of being spies. There is
also a scene in the book that should remind people of the
Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell, where Zac confronts a herder
and must decide to allow him to live or kill him. As a survivalist,
Zac must make the ultimate decision of who shall live and
who shall die.
compares his story to Homer’s The Odyssey. “I
would read this to my children all the time. The struggle
to return back home from the Battle of Troy, having to travel
through all these different lands with the many different
struggles influenced me. Every turn he made he encountered
a new obstacle that he had to get around.”
Light has many aspects to the story including technological,
political-geographical and multi-cultural information. It
is not only entertaining but informative as well. Readers
will root for Zac to use his knowledge, resourcefulness, and
training to complete his mission.