Political pressure, corruption, romance, intrigue, and murder in the battle against climate disruption
Kelly O’Rourke is excited to become a UN Solar Shield Corps Officer, but she soon discovers inside political pressure to misuse the Project’s capabilities. She confides in Jay Bhattachar, Commander Fauré’s Aide, that she suspects Fauré has covertly realigned one of the 480 solar mirrors to satisfy a Board Member.
Faure’s action has inadvertently put the entire Shield Project in jeopardy. Manhattan con artists trick a Wuhan computer firm into hacking the Shield’s master computer. Then they turn the Commander’s action into a profitable extortion racket.
When Fauré discovers their scheme, he sends Jay, Kelly, and Security Officer Cheng to pursue the extortionists. The trail leads from arson in Wuhan to confrontations in Manhattan and Moscow, triggering clashes and narrow escapes that endanger their very lives.
A fast-paced, hard-to-put-down novel that defies easy categorization - sci-fi? thriller? The basic storyline focuses on the next decade, with the UN directing a global project using mirrors to deflect a portion of the sun's light to reduce the excessive warming of our Earth: the potential for increasing or decreasing sunlight in certain areas demands careful planning (think: nations dependent on tourism or fishing). But with design issues and possible oversights affecting the well-being or sustainability of industries and even whole nations, issues of corruption and bribery quickly emerge. The characters are realistic and their individual challenges provoke ongoing thought about international responsibilities to meet the needs of each nation, how human error can be best addressed as we work to manipulate climate, and the ongoing conflict of career-vs-personal life for individuals and families. Book groups will love the many possible avenues of discussion!
litandcoffee’s Reviews > Guardians of the Solar Shield: Earth’s Climate Mirrors Under Attack 2029-37 by Sam Bleicher
Bleicher’s excellent near-future thriller blends nail-biting action with a highly imaginative premise.UN Solar Shield Project Corps (SSPC) Officers Kelly O’Rourke and Jay Bhattachar get entangled in a global conspiracy after a pair of Manhattan criminals trick a Wuhan computer firm into hacking the SSPC’s master computer. With the risk of the UN’s ambitious environmental project becoming vulnerable to international hackers, Commander Fauré sends Jay, Kelly, and senior UN Security Officer Cheng to track down the criminals in Wuhan. The trio begin their mission, unaware of the perilous dangers that lie ahead.Bleicher’s writing is assured, prose crisp, and he executes the intricate plot which consists of several mini sub plots and a large cast of characters with perfect ease while navigating a horde of shocking revelations.The narrative ties that bind various players in the story stay intact over the novel’s course, and the intriguing, realistically portrayed interplay among the main characters, especially the romantic tension that lingers between Jay and Kelly keeps the reader thoroughly invested.Along the way, Bleicher brings to his story a passionate concern for the environment with the UN’s global project aimed at lessening the effects of climate warming. This eco-conscious near-future conspiracy thriller that splendidly stretches the limits of human imagination is sure to ignite thriller readers’ interest.
Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite
Guardians of the Solar Shield: Earth's Climate Mirrors Under Attack 2029-2037 by Sam Bleicher is a very enjoyable novel dealing with our world in the 2030s trying to cope with climate change and its effect on the planet. This is not a doom-and-gloom story but rather intelligent problem-solving with the background of human stupidity, greed, intrigue, and political opportunism. The United Nations’ Solar Shield Project launches 480 reflecting mirrors into Earth's orbit to reduce the solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. So far, so good, but then regional interests and rivalries come into play, and a struggle over the mirrors’ alignment ensues to move the mirrors’ shadows away from some areas that don’t like to be in the shade. The plot spans the whole globe, including the US, China, and Russia. Some of the characters don’t shy away from murder and arson, while the good guys use every trick in their counterintelligence toolkit to save the project. The blossoming romance between reluctant lovers is the icing on the cake in this fast-moving and enjoyable novel.
I found Guardians of the Solar Shield very refreshing, quite different from the usual depressing post-apocalyptic stories that dwell on suffering and dying. There is hope because the adversaries are evenly matched in their technical skills, and the reader gets to learn a lot about computer programming and hacking. We also have a glimpse into how huge international projects are organized, implemented, and controlled. I liked the main characters, especially Kelly, the Irish redhead, with her passion, honesty, integrity, and courage. The pacing of the novel steadily increases throughout, never tedious for a second. The many italicized introspective musings of the characters give authenticity to these life-like people, and the plot stays believable all through the novel, never stretching the reader’s credulity too far. I highly recommend Sam Bleicher’s Guardians of the Solar Shield to readers who are tired of doom-and-gloom and want to see some hope, despite the stupidity all around us.