Written and published by a sister team this book totally blew me away. The blurb is just the tiniest hint of the deft story that A. Claire wove.
In my Amazon reviews I did my best not to give spoilers, but I'm not going to be so restrained here. There's just so much in this story to talk about. Like the blurb says, Oracle is top secret. The highest level of Top Secret. It's used by the American government and several other countries as the group in charge of this project, the Internationals, work to bring a united peace to the world.A security-critical facility is destroyed to get to it and it is called Oracle.That's all USFID investigator Donovan Pierce knows. And while he is told to find whoever perpetrated the deadly attack, and find them fast, he is also warned not to look for Oracle itself.Lara Holsworth never expected Oracle to be in any danger. She would like nothing more than to keep it secret and Pierce away from it—and from her, but hiding is no longer an option.With those who now know too much more determined than ever to destroy Oracle, will its protectors' cooperation be enough to keep it safe?
And that was when the Internationals rose - people worldwide who decided they would break away from their respective nationalities and create a new one, millions who had succeeded in convincing the International Court to announce a new citizenship, an international one.
They would, they vowed, treat humanity as one, and find a way to unite it.This is the group of peoples in charge of Oracle. They are working to stop threats world wide to all people through diplomacy if possible. If that's not possible, they still have Oracle on their side. Something so great, so immense that it has saved hundreds if not thousands of lives already. And it seamlessly fits in with any military force in the world. But no one except the IDSD knows what it even is. Outside of the agency only the military members it speaks to and saves have ever had contact with it.
When a data center is breached and files on Oracle are stolen it starts a landslide of leaks. The man charged with investigating the break in, Donovan Pierce, learns what was stolen but the simple act of asking questions about Oracle could lead to its discovery and collapse. And if the world finds out what Oracle really is, the threats will never stop.
Because not everyone wants peace. There are men out there that make their living and their reputations on violence and war. People that profit off of the pain and suffering of others, and have been stopped with increasing frequency, want things to do back to the old days. And one of them is hunting for Oracle after losing everything to it.
Lara Holsworth is a civilian that works for IDSD. An International she strives to help bring about peace and understanding. And she knows how to keep a secret. Her sharp wit, strength of character, and unflappable courage has been tested repeatedly. She isn't about to cower when Donovan turns his icy eyes on her and starts to threaten her. There is no way in Hell she would give in when or give up information on the top secret project. Her icy glare matches Donovan's and her security clearance outranks his, even if he is the guy carrying the gun. When these two icebergs collide sparks fly in unpredictable ways. Everyone around them knows what those sparks mean, but both Donovan and Lara have jobs to do.
He has to figure out what Oracle is in order to stop the terrorist group coming for it. She has to protect Oracle and is willing to sacrifice anything for it. And the way this book ends, and when it doesn't end, deeply surprised me after getting to know the characters.
(This next bit is more about the author and her family then the book. But gives you a real insight into where this story comes from.)
I will admit that this book hit me extra deep because I know the story of the women behind this book. The concept of the Internationals, when I first read it, choked me up a bit. Because I can understand why two brilliant women would fantasize about such a group. From their blog at AuthorandSister
What our small family seeks is a place of peace, kindness, tolerance. A place of safety. And security, too, we don’t want wars anymore. I am writing this post in a room that is pure concrete, with a heavy iron door and a blast window. Both open now, but they have been closed too many times. Many homes here have these rooms. In the last war we sat here day after day, waiting for the missile warning to stop, for the missiles to explode far enough away. One hit a building a walking distance from here. Another fell in a schoolyard nearby. It was scary. You don’t forget something like that. This wasn’t our first war, and there’s constantly talk of the next one, in this increasingly unstable region. From the south, where the Egyptian military is not making headway in its fight against ISIS. From the north, where Syria and Lebanon are and the borders are restless. And in the southeast, well, I don’t need to tell you about that, do I? And it’s never over. On the morning Author began writing this post two rockets were launched from the south. Luckily no one was hurt. But luck doesn’t hold forever. And then there are the terror attacks, they simply don’t stop. You know, you never get used to living in fear. Constant tension, constant worry, not a moment of peace. We just want a bit of peace. We want to live in a friendly place, a country with people who are, simply said, nice, where we can build a real life for ourselves, with friends and neighbors and laughter. Canada.Pardon me a moment while I get myself under control again.
They are women who cannot safely live where they were born. They have been working to get refugee status in Canada where they have friends. Obviously they have jobs that they would take with them. That's one of the upsides to being an author. While they continue to write and work, and take care of their cats, this family also has to worry about missiles landing on their home and bombs going off in the streets. They have to worry about another new war starting. Writing here in my office, looking out at my five acres of woods, I sometimes gripe about the loud noises from my neighbors across the creek. A. Claire writes sometimes behind iron doors and shutters in a concrete room waiting for the sirens to end and hoping she doesn't get blown up. Hoping no one she knows will die this time.
I wish Oracle was real. I wish it could be used to stop the wars where they live. I wish, and hope, and pray, that they will get their refugee status and can move someplace safe. I wish them all the gravy covered fries they can eat.