The Orion Protocol, by Gary Tigerman

The Orion Protocol, by Gary Tigerman coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Steven Sawicki

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Conspiracy theorist’s unite the answers you seek are here. Curious about the water erosion found at the base of the Pyramids? How about the photos from the supposedly lost Mars Observer spacecraft? What about those secret Vatican documents? You know the ones I am referring to. And then there’s the Brooking’s Report, the ET Exposure Act and fact that NASA is part of the Department of the Defense.

If things aren’t quite falling into place for you then perhaps you had better read Tigerman’s new book. The adventure starts when ambitious journalist Angela Browning gets a mysterious computer disk which contains photos of ancient structures on mars taken by the Mars Observer Spacecraft. Curious, Browning sets off the try to discover who has sent her this hoax. When she discovers that the photos are real her curiosity really gets piqued and she embarks on a voyage of discovery that leads all the way to the White House.

Browning is eventually joined on this adventure by Jake Deaver, commander of the last Apollo mission to the moon. As the two of them start peeling away layers they discover something called Project Orion which, at face value, is a space based missile defense system. But, since nothing else in this book can be taken at face value you know where this is going as well. Soon, Browning and Deaver find that their lives are in danger and that there are very few people they can trust. To Tigerman’s credit he does not make everyone an enemy and, in fact, there are some very unusual allies to be found.

The plot does weave it’s way through a number of conspiracy tropes, so many that Tigerman feels the need to annotate 13 of them in the back of the book. Browning and Deaver travel across the country, never sure who they can trust or who will believe them, but sure that they’re being followed. They’re right and the whole thing comes to a head when they set up an interview on national television.

This is an interesting book but not those who need a firm grounding in fact, although if you can buy Tigerman’s initial premise — that the government is hiding evidence of alien presence — it goes easier. The character of Browning is wholly believable as the reporter who’s presented with a mystery and who, once beginning the unraveling, can’t quite let go. I have a bit more of a problem with Deaver as the ex-astronaut who’s ready to spill it all but have to admit that Tigerman plants those seeds pretty early on so the character does work.

As for the conspiracy itself, well, either you believe these things happen or you don’t. Having said that, I should let you know that I’m not a conspiracy theorist, believing that the government is simply not smart enough to keep anything from anybody for any length of time. I still enjoyed getting from page one to the end of this. I liked the characters and the idea was large enough to get me through the few rough spots.

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