As exquisite as the book cover looks, this sci-fi book, PORT717 is a must read for all lovers of science fiction, futuristic novels, investigative plots and all those who enjoy reading in general.
The pan-continent force of the PeaceKeepers which is an initiative of the G-25 is on its mission to curb terrorism that threatens to hit and engulf G-20 nations and subsequently spill over to Columbia, Iran, Mongolia, Thailand and Zimbabwe.
The leadership of the organisation would be decided annually with no country gaining a leadership position twice before completing a 125-year cycle.
With the tactics of international relations in place, military warfare and administration in control, Jane Forsythe of the New York PeaceKeepers is on her way to the NY HIVE.
Terry Ong is leading the Search Analytics division for the region. He and detective Jane were together in training academy while Jane decided to move onto the homicide department while Terry took on the technology aspect. Terry has silicone implants in his body to enhance his human abilities while Jane is sceptical about foreign objects in the body.
Together they are to hunt down a missing person whose descriptions are something like what the newspaper clipping of the Times entioned. “Mysterious disappearance of a 23-year-old male. If you have any information or whereabouts, please call missing persons helpline. Strictest confidence will be adhered.”
Together, they also share a sweet chemistry. The language of PORT717 is fabulous and brilliantly clean just like the plot. There are no spelling errors what so ever.
In fact, the language is well built and it complements the twists and turns of the plot. The words are well chosen to suit the situation so much so that the storytelling never feels fake or unreal. Every detail can be imagined to the tee.
The author is clearly someone who is well versed in futuristic technological developments along with computer programming and scientific advancements.
The exciting thing about the novel is that it has a strong female protagonist. “Tiger” or Jane as she is officially called bears an uncanny resemblance to Nancy Drew. She is the heart of the story but it will be unfair to say that she is the be all and the end all. The characterisation is brilliant.
Jane’s eye for detail, sense of punctuality, gutsy instincts and force of action make her a powerful character. She is also hardworking, perseverant and sensitive by nature.
Both Jane and Terry share an equal amount of narrative space though Jane is given the upper hand and Terry is her supportive other.
However, he is not sidelined either. Most of the scenes involve Jane who is in a sense a sort of Tomb Raider-like-character in her physical promptness to uncover the mysteries.
The plot moves with its swiftness through the myriad twists and turns despite the never-ending battles that the characters have to face.
There is an action-packed plot, full of rapid moves and turnovers. There is a good balance between drama, action and mystery. That is what becomes the essence of this novel- balance.
Everything is put together in the right amounts and there is no excess of plot twists, characters or climaxes. Hence, though a lot seems to be happening, nothing seems amiss.
As much as the eye for detail works for the great advantage of the plot, the excessive detailing is a little hard to remember and requires a lot of attention on the part of the reader.
Nonetheless, there is no useless detailing that may break the chronology of the storyline. Rather, the details add to the story and bring in sparkling charms to an already charismatic plot. It further helps develop the multiple climaxes that are plenty and spread across the narrative.
PORT717 is a little over three-and-half-hour read if read at a moderate pace without any breaks in between.
Another interesting thing to note is the titles of individual chapters that come in different languages along with their English translations by their side. It adds to the globalised aspect of the novel that has events scattered all over the world in a One and New World System.
Maut ka Kuan or The Well of Death is a breathtaking chapter that hastens the narrative to plunge it into chapters like Pursue, Suspicion and Warning.
PORT717 ends on an optimistic note of victory for Jane and Terry and their team of investigators. The book can be easily depicted in the form of a graphic novel and will look great as a comic book and surely a fantasy film.