A Light Not of This World by Dan Riker


This is the Second Edition, Revised and Updated, of A Light Not of This World, a fast-paced thriller, set several years in the future, about nuclear attacks on the United States by a small group of terrorists, the hunt for them before they explode more bombs, the retaliation against their supporters and suppliers, and the heroic actions by Americans in response to the tragedy. Now available in trade paperback and Kindle editions

Buy the trade paperback from the publisher here.
Buy the trade paperback from Amazon here.
The Kindle edition is available for purchase, rent, or for free in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited Program. For details click this link.

This edition contains revisions and updates necessitated by events that have occurred since 2010, and to correct some minor errors. However, nothing has occurred since 2010 that makes the story any less plausible today. If anything, real events are tracking fairly closely to the future fictional situation described in the novel.

A fugitive Pakistani nuclear scientist slips into the U.S. and disappears. An undercover FBI agent looking into an al-Qaeda link to a Baltimore import company is murdered. When Maryland Governor-elect David Randall, a retired Marine General and terrorism expert, investigates, he is swept into the firestorm that engulfs the nation and is called on to help lead America out of its worst nightmare of tragedy and terror. 

Told through the heroic and self-sacrificing actions of some of the characters, and the evil actions of others, this novel draws themes from contemporary events and debates over military doctrine, nuclear proliferation, American foreign policy and containment of terrorism.

A LIGHT NOT OF THIS WORLD should appeal to readers of political and military thrillers, speculative fiction, and those who are concerned about nuclear proliferation, American policy in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the threat of terrorism. Unusual for a novel, it has a Note on Sources and a Bibliography at the end.

This novel recently has received two 5-star reviews on Goodreads. One is on the home page and here is the other:

Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Extremely verisimilitudinous in depicting the attitudes and mindset of politicians, military officers and FBI and CIA agents, insofar as I understand them, to the degree that it was both evident that the author was extraordinarily knowledgeable about all of those personalities, and unmistakable that here was an insider’s acute insight into politics. It was almost uncomfortably and chillingly authentic. The prose is immaculate, the narrative compelling, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why the book hasn’t received more attention. though (full disclosure), as a pacifist, I would naturally find myself upset by the authentic depiction of the military mindset, which this book does superlatively well. Nevertheless, it’s a page-turner, and if I’m prepared strongly to recommend it as a believable thriller (my personal view of politicians and the military notwithstanding), then it’s because I absolutely believe that the more representative reader of political thrillers will enjoy it immensely.The immediately preceding paragraph was my very first reaction, a short way into the book, and it ought to have been sufficient to impel you to hasten to your kindle screen and click, “buy.” But then, something happened...To explain, I need to make this observation of my own: Our government — and anyone who isn’t phenomenally naïve understands this — perpetrates terrible acts in the name of stopping “terrorists” — real, potential, or imaginary. They routinely sacrifice the innocent in response to these perceived threats. Riker is not naïve, and he does recognize this. But his protagonists, though exhibiting some of the unrelenting political pragmatism characteristic of players in the game, don’t all shrug and acquiesce in the imagined “greater good.” Someone once observed that he who destroys a single human being, destroys a universe. There is, to me, no more chilling person than one who is willing to immolate the one for the “greater good.”When Riker finally arrested my interest — caught me by the throat, in fact, amidst all the routine political machinations — was when his alter ego, Connor, engaging in a philosophical balancing act, arrived finally at this reflection, described by the narrator:“At the same time, he understood why anyone who believed in the Constitution, the rights of individuals guaranteed to Americans, would be greatly offended by what the FBI was doing. And it was more than that. If it was justified to sacrifice the freedom and rights of one individual for the greater good, where and when does it stop? Is there any point beyond which such actions no longer are justified?

And when Marie, the conscience and the moral compass of the novel, responded, “The point where it must be stopped is the point where it started. If it is allowed once, then it can be justified again. What have you fought for, almost been killed for? When does it cease to have any meaning? For our freedoms to have any meaning, they must be protected all the time, and for everyone.” 

Riker has written a captivating, fast-paced, exquisitely well-crafted thriller, absent all other considerations. For lovers of the genre, his more compelling reflections may be immaterial. But the fact is, Riker was not concerned only to confect a gripping and effective narrative with authentic characters. That would have been too easy for him. He’s said something important. For that, I might give him one more star, atop the five that I’m going to be able to award. Read it.

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