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The God's Eye View

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NSA director Theodore Anders has a simple goal: collect every phone call, email, and keystroke tapped on the Internet. He knows unlimited surveillance is the only way to keep America safe.

Evelyn Gallagher doesn’t care much about any of that. She just wants to keep her head down and manage the NSA’s camera network and facial recognition program so she can afford private school for her deaf son, Dash.

But when Evelyn discovers the existence of a program code-named God’s Eye and connects it with the mysterious deaths of a string of journalists and whistle-blowers, her doubts put her and Dash in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins: Delgado, a sadistic bomb maker and hacker, and Manus, a damaged giant of a man who until now has cared for nothing beyond protecting the director.

Within an elaborate game of political blackmail, terrorist provocations, and White House scheming, a global war is being fought—a war between those desperate to keep the state’s darkest secrets and those intent on revealing them. A war that Evelyn will need all her espionage training and savvy to survive, because the director has the ultimate advantage: The God’s Eye View.

416 pages, Paperback

First published February 2, 2016

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About the author

Barry Eisler

66 books2,787 followers
Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
--from the author's website

* John Rain

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 505 reviews
Profile Image for Vera (Estante da Vera).
188 reviews28 followers
November 7, 2019

4 and half stars

This was a hard book to read, not because it's not well written - it really is very well done - but because of the subject matter and some characters. The plot, to me, is scarier than many horror books and movies out there.

Too much power concentrated at the hands of one single person who turns out to be a megalomaniac sociopath it's terrifying.

I had to read it in small doses, cringing at the insanity of one of the main characters, scared for others. They were all well written, real and scarily believable.
Not all characters are crazy sociopaths and psychopaths, but all of them are broken one way or another.

This book has some graphic violence and graphic sex scenes. If you're comfortable with those, you're good to go. If you're not, you get enough warning that let you skip these parts and not miss the great plot.

The main plot is solved in a way that makes sense, but the ending.... I won't spoil you.

This is a book worth reading but not for the faint of heart. There are enough twist, turns and surprises to make a fan of great thrillers very happy.

Maybe you'll finish this book a little bit paranoid, but that's not really a bad thing, right?

I'd like to thank Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer and author Barry Eisler for sending me an ARC of The God's Eye View in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books333 followers
May 20, 2017
Fuck you Barry Eisler.

I don't expect an NSA novel to be realistic or even-handed, though it would be nice to see someone write one that is remotely plausible. (Hmm....) When you read a novel about the NSA, you should generally treat it with the same skepticism you would treat a novel about secret vampire societies or time traveling Highlanders. So I was expecting a stupid thriller where the NSA has magical see-anything-anywhere-anytime technology and Edward Snowden and Chelsea née Bradley Manning would be praised as "whistleblowers," but The God's Eye View is even more egregious than Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. It pisses me off that people will read crap written by hack authors and think it reflects reality. I see a lot of reviews of this book praising it as "scarily realistic" and praising the author for "doing his research."

Bullshit. I guess I should have been warned when the opening quotes were from Julian Assange, and then the Stasi. Barry Eisler, it quickly becomes apparent, has drunk the conspiracy Koolaid.

In his author's bio, Eisler says that he worked for three years "in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations." Wow, that sounds impressive, doesn't it?

It's unlikely he actually did anything that people usually think of as "spy stuff," but working for the DO means he probably had a "cover" assignment, meaning he worked somewhere pretending to be something other than a CIA employee. I'm sure it was interesting, but it doesn't mean he was anything more than a low-level GS employee, and he also did it over 20 years ago. So he is not an expert insider writing about shit he actually knows. Keep in mind also that the CIA and NSA are completely different agencies with different missions.

This became evident as his novel departed further and further from reality. So fine, he wrote a sensational technothriller. In his version of reality, the NSA not only can but does casually spy on anyone anywhere. I realize that many people actually believe that the NSA is reading Americans' emails and listening to their phone calls, despite the fact that even in the volumes of data released by Edward Snowden and other so-called "whistleblowers," no evidence of doing this has ever been found. The NSA's mission is very strictly defined and regulated, and there are very strict rules it must follow when it comes to surveillance of US citizens. The NSA cannot simply decide to spy on someone inside the United States because terrorism. To do so requires going to court to get a FISA warrant, and it requires a ton of paperwork and very high-level authorizations - it is absolutely not something an ordinary NSA employee can do, and even the Director of the NSA cannot authorize it on a whim.

"That's just what They want you to believe!"

Sure, you can choose to believe that it's all lies, all the investigations and audits and Congressional hearings have been cover-ups (according to Eisler, the media is just a lapdog for the NSA), every single NSA employee casually disregards their Constitutional oath and breaks the law daily and this doesn't bother anyone working there. In which case, nothing anyone tells you will convince you differently.

In The God's Eye View, NSA employees use the tools of counter-terrorism surveillance to check up on people they meet on Match.com and spy on anyone anywhere in realtime. And the Director of the NSA is a power-hungry psychopath who runs the NSA as his personal fiefdom. He keeps a rapist serial killer and a deaf brute hitman on retainer. In Barry Eisler's world, the NSA casually assassinates journalists, political activists, politicians, and its own employees, as well as setting off bombs in Washington D.C. to scare people so that the NSA can be given more power to fight terrorism. About the only thing the NSA doesn't do in this book is actually monitor other countries or do counter-terrorism. The NSA, in Eisler's world, is indistinguishable from the KGB or the Stasi. It doesn't actually perform its function, merely acts as the private army of its power-crazed Director.

The plot is basically Oliver Stone's Snowden mixed with a Tom Clancy novel. An NSA employee (the DIRNSA's personal assistant) who helped create the "God's Eye" program that allows the NSA to track anyone anywhere, begins to suffers a crisis of conscience when she suspects the DIRNSA is having people killed for knowing too much. Of course suffering a crisis of conscience means she now knows too much, so when the DIRNSA suspects her loyalty has become shaky, she is next to be disposed of. He summons his pet dog, a deaf brute with an angsty abusive backstory, to follow her around, and when he is convinced that she is indeed a liability, he summons his other personal assassin, the sadistic rapist-serial killer whom he allows to run amok in the US as long as he's available to kill people for the NSA, to do away with his own employee.

Oh, but wait! The poor personal assistant has a deaf son! And the deaf brute, when he meets her and his son, is touched! Also literally, since she is inexplicably and immediately attracted to a guy described as some sort of misshapen hulking monster, so they fuck in a couple of very purple sex scenes and this results in the deaf guy becoming a good guy and trying to save her from the other assassin and the evil DIRNSA.

As a thriller, this book would rate 2 stars for a quick and entertaining if silly plot and mediocre writing. But for writing crappy, poorly researched garbage, Eisler gets 1 star and a fuck you.
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books430 followers
February 1, 2016
If The God’s Eye View had been released even three or four years earlier, it might have carried with it the weight of a technothriller fueled solely by paranoid delusion and conspiracy fluff. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the government’s mass surveillance of American citizens, though, this book reads frighteningly realistic. And although the titular NSA surveillance mechanism codenamed God’s Eye is supposedly a fictional product of Barry Eisler’s authorial creativity, reading this book might prompt more than a few raised eyebrows wondering, “Can they really do that? Are they doing that right now?!”

The God’s Eye View has a good amount of stuff happening all at once – there’s whistleblowers in danger, an NSA tech who asks one too many questions of her superior and finds herself marked for death, that superior being the crazed director of NSA who is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to secure power under the auspices of protecting the American people, and a couple freelance hitmen dealing out the hurt to whoever the director points the finger at.

One of these hitmen is Manus, a brilliantly drawn and conflicted killer (which, let’s face it, is practically an Eisler trademark at this point) who is hearing impaired. When tasked with monitoring Eve, the NSA tech who comes across video surveillance of a government whistle-blower leaking info to an Intercept reporter, his life becomes far more complicated with the discovery that Eve’s son is also deaf.

There’s a few things I expect in a Barry Eisler book – a sound display of spy trade craft, egregious government overreach, brutal violence, and an uncomfortable level of realism when it comes to depicting covert agencies gone berserk and the lengths the smart and skilled protagonists will go to in order to protect themselves. All of these elements are on display in The God’s Eye View, so count me as a happy camper.

If I have to provide a negative to the work, it comes in the novel’s opening chapters where so much of the dialogue feels like an exercise in blatant info-dumping and name-dropping to get readers caught up on the real-world events that have inspired this book. Granted, it’s all done in an effort to ground the book in a firmly recognizable landscape of modern post-Snowden America, and those who are a little less up on recent events might not be bothered. Those that have been following along with the Snowden leaks, Greenwald’s reporting, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation might get a little itchy for the action to start hitting. But when that action does hit? Man, oh, man. You’re in for some good stuff.

The God’s Eye View is a great thriller filled with well-realized characters and a frenetic pace. It also gives an uncomfortably realistic, and frighteningly prescient, view of the NSA’s capabilities and the loss of privacy threatening every American. Highly recommended.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]
Profile Image for Patty.
270 reviews82 followers
October 18, 2016
Hmm....what to say.... Do you like acronyms? Do you want to know more about how our government is spying on everyone, all the time? Do you like to read about computers? Do you like spy novels?

I kept wanting to stop reading this book, it just didn't hold my interest at all. I could hardly even remember the characters from one chapter to the next, they just weren't developed, they felt like sterotype charactuers, the brainy women with the big boobs, the self indulged god like dictator, the unattractive child-abused hit man, the wounded and scarred soldier saved by the dictator.

But the premise of the story was intriguing and I hadn't read a government spy type novel in a very long time and probably won't again anytime in the near future. The author has done a ton of reasearch and it shows, maybe it shows a lot. It could have used less details and more emotion and more character development. I did finish the book. In the back of the book is an enormous amount of reference material where you can read into depth about the subject of the government spying on us.

This book was given to me by netgalley for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Blake Crouch.
Author 77 books44.6k followers
June 6, 2016
Read this book because it’s wildly entertaining. Respect it because it paints a portrait of America that is more timely, terrifying, and relevant than anything gracing the bestseller lists. This is fiction that thrills, makes you think, and makes you consider the surveillance state that is fast becoming our daily lives. What more can a novel aspire to do? The God’s Eye View is one of the most important books that will be published this year.
Profile Image for Eldon Farrell.
Author 14 books95 followers
August 15, 2017
Let me start off by saying I loved the high level concept behind this novel. The expected intrigue and implied machinations had me anticipating this read for months which made the eventual outcome all the more disappointing.

A book should be one of two things—hopefully both but at least one—entertaining or enlightening. Replete with overblown characterizations and long winded expositions, The God’s Eye View is a third e… excruciating. I expected far better from a New York Times bestselling author. It may be for some, but constant naval gazing is not for me.

The dreaded DNF at 18% resulting in 1 star.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,249 reviews393 followers
April 6, 2016
A quality political thriller, with some violence but not too graphic. The NSA Director has developed a powerful program to spy on citizens, and is determined to insure that nobody jeopardizes it. Think of Samaritan for those of you who watch NBC's Person of Interest. He sends out his two enforcers after anyone threatening to disclose the existence of the program. His assistant begins to suspect duplicity, and one of the goons is sent to keep an eye on her, but becomes emotionally involved. A little cliche, but I liked that Eisler used hearing impairment as a theme, creating a bond between the characters and introducing some humanity in the novel.
Profile Image for Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo.
620 reviews180 followers
February 15, 2016
I received a free copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3.5 Stars

I love political thrillers and the premise of The God's Eye View greatly interested me. In a post Edward Snowden era, the NSA Director has created the ultimate data, image, location, meta data Program - "God's Eye View". He will do anything to protect the U.S. from another terrorist attack, even arranging "suicides", "accidents", and the "murders" of any and all so-called "whistle-blowers". Even questioning these events can get a NSA employee killed. God's Eye is so compartmentalized, no one analyst knows what else is connected to God's Eye. And of course, the Director is using the program for his own personal use. Yes, the program the U.S. isn't supposed to have, let alone be using.

That is until, an analyst finishes the security protocols. You guessed it - she dies mysteriously. But she built in some backdoor access (probably for monitoring by her) and told her lover about it. Perkins meets with a reporter in Turkey. He thinks he's taken enough precautions to have been very discreet, but a young sharp analyst makes the connection between the two men. Shortly after their meeting and after Evie reports her findings to the Director, Perkins is killed in an automobile accident and the reporter is "kidnapped by ISIS affiliated terrorists."

Evie has information that links the Director to these events, and puts herself in the cross-hair sights of the Director. He has 2 assassins completely loyal to him. One, is a sadist that enjoys killing while the other is deaf and a tortured past. Manus can relate to Evie and her deaf son and also finds her attractive. Can Evie survive with these two men breathing down her neck? Will the country survive the The God's Eye View?

This is my 1st novel written by Barry Eisler and I'll read him again despite a few minor problems with the novel. A Size D heroine that gets horny every time she sees or hears from Manus? The buxom, but brainy broad theme got slightly weird and old. Her character and a few others weren't quite as developed as I felt they should have been. Marvin Manus was a terrific character. And the ending fell flat and a little short in my opinion. I wanted more information about Evie, Dash, and Manus in the Epilogue. That is why I knocked a half star off on this novel.
Profile Image for Ed.
632 reviews56 followers
February 11, 2016
An unforgettable stand alone political thriller by Barry Eisler, author of the very popular John Rain series, about the NSA's efforts to keep America safe vs. Americans right to privacy. NSA analyst Evelyn Gallagher observes a clandestine meeting in Turkey between an NSA operative and a journalist. She reports the meeting to the Director who scrambles for damage control against a potential whistle blower scandal and uses "all means necessary" to protect "God's Eye", a highly secret program from becoming public. The cover-up spirals out of control and only Evelyn Gallagher, on the run with her deaf son Dash, can stop the Director.

This highly charged thriller is a step up from the author's John Rain series in it's original and quite timely plot. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,203 reviews34.9k followers
February 8, 2016
Received from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.

Barry Eisler does not disappoint in his latest book, The God's Eye View.

Evelyn "Evie" Gallagher is a computer analyst working for the NSA. While doing her job of monitoring cameras around the world and filtering images through a facial recognition system, she see something that she should not see. She begins to question deaths of journalists and her tie to them as well as the motives of the Director of the NSA. Once she questions the director, he then in turn, has her under surveillance.

Theodore Anders, Director of the NSA has a mission to monitor communications around the world in order to keep America safe. In order to keep American safe, he often relies on a sadist bomb maker named Delgado and a Deaf Assassin named Manus. Anders is an example of how Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

All of these Characters and more collide in "The God's Eye View" to weave a tale of intrigue, whistle blowing, suspense, romance, political scheming, danger, and excitement. While reading this book, I could not help but think of Eisler's other books; specifically the John Rain series. Once again, Eisler has been able to create an Assassin who is likable, damaged, and intriguing. This is where Eisler shines. Creating a Character that normally we would not feel for, and yet we do. He does this is such a smooth and wonderful fashion. Giving us a glimpse into his abusive childhood. Showing that although a ruthless killer, he can also be conflicted and compassionate.

Another thing Eisler is good at...taking a subject such as the NSA, political bureaucracy and making it fun to read. He doesn't dumb down anything. He is a very intelligent writer who is able to tell his political tale in a succinct manner.

I really enjoyed this book. I think it has something for everyone. It is wonderfully written with well thought out characters. The story was fantastic. Another fantastic book by Eisler.
Profile Image for Gary.
2,593 reviews365 followers
February 4, 2016
I have previously read books by this author and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to reading this new novel by Barry Eisler.
I really enjoyed this novel and if I am totally honest enjoyed it even more than I expected. The book is full of action, suspense and a little romance so there is plenty for the reader to enjoy.

Analyst Evelyn Gallagher works for NSA designing facial recognition programs. She is a divorced mother who has a deaf son named Dash. When she gets suspicious of goings on within the company her troubles begin. Director Theodore Anders hears her of her suspicions and tries to ease her worries but fails to ease Evie's fears. What follows is an action packed thriller as Evie tries to uncover the truth.

The book is full of strong interesting characters and I was reluctant to put the book down as I wanted to know more. An excellent political thriller that is thought provoking. I have no hesitation recommending this novel.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas & Mercer for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for a honest review.
851 reviews27 followers
February 2, 2016
NSA Analyst Evelyn Gallagher is divorced and her life revolves around her deaf son, Dash. She’s very, very good at her job at designing facial recognition and camera recognition programs, but she makes a big but accidental mistake. She tells the Director of the NSA Program that she’s suspicious that there are others using a different program. Director Theodore Anders hears her out and offhandedly calms her fears; but later he is determined to have her watched. Add to that the fact that some investigators and now a journalist have coincidentally and accidentally died, all of them connected with the NSA Program.
It takes quite a while to discover what the God’s Eye program is all about, but Anders is willing to do anything to make sure no one can connect the dots between the separate parts of the program. Terrorism is widespread throughout the world and Anders believes that unless the American government knows everything that is possibly going on as well as what is really happening, we will be attacked for sure and be losers rather than victors.
Now the tension notches up many levels. The investigator Manus who is assigned to watch Evelyn finds himself having feelings he hasn’t experienced for years upon years. He also is deaf because of his father’s abusive, drunken behavior; he’s also a closed book normally to any kind of sentimental feelings. But Dash awakens something gentle and kind and Manus is one notch less of a faithful dog for Anders, something it doesn’t take Manus long to find out.
One investigator passes along the secret to a journalist and things rapidly jettison out of control, with Anders out of control and beginning to make things happen that go way beyond the behavior allowed to an American government worker. To say more would spoil what is a vibrantly complex but satisfying plot.
This is a story that could be real in our day as we discover terrorists are now communicating through encrypted messages that not even our government can break and terrorist acts occur that are either directed by ISIS or ISIS-like groups or individuals who are copy-cat terrorists but no less deadly.
Fans of spy or thriller novels will love this novel by a talented and knowledgeable writer, Barry Eisler – nicely done and highly recommended!
Profile Image for Darcia Helle.
Author 30 books694 followers
February 14, 2016
I'm surprised by my lackluster feelings for this book. I was looking forward to reading it. The topic - our government's increasing surveillance on private citizens and our loss of privacy - is of great interest and importance to me. But, honestly, I varied between bored and irritated through much of this story.

My problem begins with the characters. To me, they were all stereotypes; the megalomaniac boss, the damaged killer, the insecure single mother. None of them surprised me at all. More than that, though, was the lack of emotion. I didn't feel the dramatic intensity these characters' stories should have provided.

Then came the overwhelming detail. We have excessive information on espionage, computer surveillance, public cameras, weapon types and uses, etc. While these details are vital for an author to know in order to tell a story well, it's not necessary for all of that detail to go into the book. Then we have backstories on some of the characters, along with lots of situational setups, which, surprisingly, doesn't add much to the characters' depth and still gave me no emotional connection. For instance, we have several pages of a baseball game just to set up a place for two characters to meet. The setup could have been done in a paragraph of two, without making me sit through a game.

From the often dull, mostly predictable, not particularly believable characters that had me falling asleep, suddenly we'd shift into intense, graphically violent scenes that had me wide-eyed with a shot of adrenaline. These actions scenes are clearly where the author excels. Though I have to say that some of the 'bad guys' were portrayed as complete idiots.

For me, there was a total disconnect between the mechanical behavior of the characters, the violent action, and the controversial subject matter. The experience was like watching a war play out on a chess board.

In the end, the volume of detail and story execution didn't work as a fictional story, at least not for my taste. I'm more inclined to look for this sort of thing in nonfiction. Clearly, given this book's popularity, I'm in the minority.

*I received an ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*

Profile Image for M.J..
Author 76 books2,109 followers
February 16, 2016
Riveting and frightening

Yes it's a terrific novel- a fascinating political thriller- a fast paced page - burner. I devoured it. And then I turned the last page and got to the long list of real life articles backing up Eisler's fiction- inspiring it and that's when the fear kicked in.
Profile Image for George Lichman.
117 reviews2 followers
August 6, 2016
Edward Snowden damaged the National Security Administration. Now, years later, current NSA Director General Ted Anders was not going to let that happen again. To do so, after all, would prevent him from keeping America safe; the good of the many v. the good of the few thing, right?
Evelyn Gallagher was a dedicated NSA analyst and computer genius. She had developed software that could track nearly all security camera systems in the world and, even more remarkably, identify people using biometric data. When she identified a senior NSA staffer meeting with a journalist known for his work exposing government excesses, it raised a red flag. But when one of those men was dead and the second kidnapped by jihadists and left for dead within hours after reporting her findings to General Anders, Evie started piecing things together, not only about this incident, but others that preceded it. She is immediately torn between her suspicions and the need for her job, not only because of its importance, but because she is the sole provider for her little boy.

The God's Eye View is incredibly entertaining, a thriller that travels the world and encounters some of the most dangerous, distasteful people in its darkest corners. Nothing about author Barry Eisler's writing or story telling will keep readers wanting. The book is well balanced between a compelling plot, character development, sex, love, and violence.
Unique to many books in the genre, Mr. Eisler does a great job with character development. Our hero, Evelyn Gallagher and her son; the power hungry and increasingly delusional General Anders; the NSA muscle, Thomas Delgado and Marvin Manus; even General Ander's assistant, General Mike Remar. None are treated as secondary in their role in the book, and they're developed enough that I had felt a connection with each of them, although some more pleasant than others!
But the book is more than just a thriller. It is a statement about the degradation of privacy and liberty in America and the world and about the dangers that have resulted and will continue to. About the paranoia that often comes with power. And about how complacently most Americans have allowed it to happen, even want it to happen, as long as it doesn't interfere with their day to day lives.
"I implement what the people want, even if they don't have the integrity and self-awareness to admit they want it. And I have no patience for anyone who enjoys meat but moans about slaughterhouses, who wears cheap clothes but deplores sweatshops, who weeps about climate change from behind the wheel of an SUV or from the window seat of an airplane."
Of course, General Ander's quote above is in defense of the drastic measures he takes to protect America and to keep America's secrets. But that argument isn't foreign to many Americans or our politicians. Ironically, as The God's Eye View points out, the threat to America sometimes needs protected from comes from the people making that very argument. And when finally confronted, General Remar's response:
"He sighed. 'Let's not be naive. We're not subverting democracy; democracy was subverted a long time ago...It's NSA management or corporate management. And believe me, you don't want the corporations running the show all by themselves. We're not exactly Thomas Jefferson, okay, that ship has sailed, but we're not complete slaves of mammon, either.'"
While the story told in The God's Eye View is fiction, there are references to current events, news stories, conspiracy theories, and the methods used to control the media over the last decade and a half. Mr. Eisler goes one step further, provided readers with a list of sources at the end of the book that include news articles, scholarly works, and other links.

Whether you read The God's Eye View for the great story, dynamic characters, thrills, or the deeper statement it makes, I'm confident you'll enjoy it. But don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to remove mobile phone batteries, cover web cameras when not in use, and debate whether it's better to send files unencrypted hoping they won't be noticed versus encrypting but drawing attention to them!
290 reviews14 followers
January 30, 2016
I just finished the ARC for Barry Eisler's latest novel, The God's Eye View. It hits the bookstores this coming Tuesday, Feb. 2. In fact, I will be going to the launch at Kepler's (got my tickets a month ago!).

I'm a big fan of Eisler's books (especially the John Rain series), so it was a no-brainer to order this one from Kepler's, where I will pick up my copy and get it signed Tuesday night. In the meantime, I was fortunate enough to have Nicole send me the ARC. That way, I could read and review it before the event. I could also then post it on my blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon. Of course, it would help if I liked it. Did I? That's a resounding YES! I think it's terrific.

Normally, I quote either the back of the book or the Goodreads synopsis. I'm not going to do that here. All I'm going to tell you is that the book centers on Ted Anders, the director of the NSA (National Security Agency); Mike Remar, Anders' right-hand man; Evelyn Gallagher, a computer scientist in the NSA who also has a 4-year old deaf son; and Manus and Delgado, who do jobs for Anders and Remar that don't strictly come under any of our country's laws.

What I'm going to do instead is show you a couple of quotes about the book:

"Eisler has managed to evoke a half-hidden global conflict that is still largely misunderstood even by many of its own participants. In documenting the parts and making accessible the whole, he has done the public a profound service that goes well beyond entertainment." - Barrett Brown, activist and journalist

"Read this book because it's wildly entertaining. Respect it because it paints a portrait of America that is more timely, terrifying, and relevant than anything gracing the bestseller lists. The God's Eye View is one of the most important books that will be published this year." - Blake Crouch, author of Wayward Pines

Intrigued? Yes? Good answer. This is one heckuva interesting premise. And besides all of that, it's really well-written and very exciting. I loved it. I would even say that it's as good as Harlan Coben's best stuff. Yep. And I mean that, too.

So, from the quotes I've posted and the comments I've made you can probably guess that The God's Eye View paints a pretty grim picture of the NSA. It fictionalizes what many people feel is not fiction at all. And Eisler definitely makes it feel real. But there's more to the book than that. For example:

1. Eisler's book reminds me of the recent movie, The Big Short. Both of them take great pains NOT to dumb down the material. We get explanations for events that force us to think. Sometimes that's tough for me(!), but not this time.
2. He creates a brutal hit man (Manus) and yet makes us sympathetic toward him. That's no easy feat.
3. He brings Evelyn and her son together with Manus and makes us absolutely care about all 3 of them and their relationships with one another. (You're going to love the baseball scene.)
4. Eisler made me cry (a fair amount for this type of book), smile, grimace (quite a bit), feel joy, and whoop. (There's one scene where I actually cried and whooped at the same time!)
5. Although I've already said this, it bears repeating. This is an extremely well-written book. There is tons of drama, and many of the storylines are very clever. I always appreciate a well-written book that also grabs me emotionally. Bingo!
6. If you are under 18, DO NOT READ THIS BULLET POINT. There is a sex scene in the book that reminded me of Lie Down with Lions by Ken Follett. And maybe a little bit of the limousine scene in the movie No Way Out. If you've read the one or seen the other, then you know what I mean!

To recap, get a hold of this book Tuesday (or shortly thereafter). At least put it near the top of your TBR pile. I'm telling you that this is an outstanding book. In fact, I'm going to give it the highest compliment of all - I will be putting The God's Eye View on my Sunday morning, Farmer's Market, recommendation table. Only the very best enjoy this privilege. Way to go, Barry.
Profile Image for Susan.
333 reviews24 followers
July 1, 2018
This was more frightening than any horror/thriller tat I’ve read in a long time. Privacy is something most of us take for granted. I think most people believe no one has any so it doesn’t matter and that basically our government is good, and has our best interests at heart. I’m not so sure about that and this book sort of freaked me out. Barry Eisner created sympathetic characters and also evil ones. You know who the good guys are, but even the most innocent are not entirely innocent. They just choose to not ask too many questions.

This was a definite page-turner, great action, the plot kept moving and it had an honest ending. This book had too much truth in it. I’ll be thinking about this or for a long time.
Profile Image for Tom Tischler.
904 reviews13 followers
June 6, 2016
NSA director Theodore Anders has only one goal. Collect every phone call, email,
and keystroke tapped on the internet. He knows that unlimited surveillance is the
only way to keep America safe. Evelyn Gallagher doesn't care about that she only
wants to manage the NSA camera network and facial recognition program. She needs the
money for a private school for her deaf son. Evelyn discovers the existence of a
program code named God's Eye and connects it with the death of a string of journalists
and whistle blowers. This has put her in the cross hairs of a pair of government
assassins. Delgado a sadistic bomb maker and hacker and Manus a giant whose only care
is protecting the director. A global war is being fought between those desperate to keep
the states darkest secrets and those bent on revealing them. Evelyn needs all her training
to survive because the director has the advantage . He has God's Eye View. This is a very good
book with a good story. I really liked it and gave it a 4.5.
Profile Image for Pia.
236 reviews20 followers
February 5, 2016
I just love a good thriller, and this book is on top of my "great thrillers" list.

What if your whole life could be seen, searched and followed by the government? What if they could control your every step and move?
Scary, right? And this is exactly the premise of this book. Wherever you go and whatever you do, somebody is watching you.

When Evelyn Gallagher spots two people who are not supposed to be together, and reports it to her boss, the Director of the National Security Agency, she has no idea of the chain reaction she has just triggered.

Spies, murderers, gruesome violence and some sex... mix them together by a very good writer and you have a great thriller in "The God's Eye View"

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Joyce.
1,660 reviews15 followers
February 19, 2016
I chose this book because I've read Eisler before, but this time he outdid himself. It is a tale of the NSA running amok throughout the world. The director is an unbelievable micromanager who arranges the disposal of those who prove to be a threat to him. He has two contractors who are possibly the most amoral and frightening individuals I've read of in years. The protagonist is a female NSA analyst who pieces together what is going on and risks her life to put a stop to it. He also manage to take one of the contractors and turn him into a character you care about. Telling more would be a spoiler.

Thanks to Net Galley and Thomas and Mercer for an ARC for an honest review. It is excellent reading!
Profile Image for Jim A.
1,267 reviews63 followers
April 4, 2016
Another well told tale from Eisler. He intertwines factual events with the NSA, Snowden, with the fictional (or is it?) God's Eye program. Very well done.
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,508 reviews352 followers
March 23, 2016
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. (also purchased audio)

Get ready for some delicious non-stop ACTION thrills, on steroids! Barry Eisler, delivers an (over-the-top) bold, innovative, and sophisticated top-notch riveting suspense thriller-- The GOD’S EYE VIEW, a Top Political Thriller of 2016! (ripped from today’s headlines)

From sex, danger, conspiracy, whistleblowers, journalists, meta data, media, crime, assassins, threats, suspense, mystery, blackmail, terrorists, spies, hitmen, government intelligence, politics, surveillance, NSA, FBI, CIA, an insider, hackers, violence, bombs, threats, espionage, murder, conspiracy, sabotage, cover-ups, security breaches----shall I go on?

Impeccably researched, and brilliantly crafted, you will find yourself extending your reading for days, bookmarking numerous references. More frightening, even though a fictional tale, the events are fairly close to the frightening reality. "Our government is watching and controlling our every move." Has it gone too far?

General Theodore Anders is the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and he will do anything to protect God’s Eye. He collects everything on everyone. Spying on citizens. This is all he cares about. Everything else was negotiable. As the book opens there has been a breach. He has to find the leak, holding all data and secrets. A murder, a plan. A diversion. Hitmen.

In the meantime, meet Evie Gallagher. A NSA analyst. A thirty-five- year old divorced mother with a young deaf ten- year -old son, Dash currently in private school, a father in an assisted living, and a dead beat husband. She needs her job and cannot afford to risk her financial and career status.

She stumbles upon a covert government program with code name of “God’s Eye.” An extensive government surveillance program. Soon thereafter she makes connections to mysterious deaths of journalists and whistleblowers. What she sees is scary, threatening. . . who will she tell? There is a backstory, which is very interesting—you will sympathize with her situation, and her younger son. Can you imagine discovering something of this nature—what to do with dangerous and incriminating privileged information? Everyone knows what happens to whistleblowers?

An insider threat . . . She has to be eliminated. The thumb drive.

Then there is Manus. He is also deaf (hearing impaired). A hitman? A connection. Can she trust Manus? Some hot action and sex between the two, until they realize they are caught up in the middle of this nightmare. Evie, Dash and Manus are in the crosshairs of a pair of government assassins (they will get the thumb drive no matter how many people they need to kill).

Inspired by Edward Snowden, former CIA infrastructure analyst (fascinating--a fan), and if you have kept abreast of programs such as PRISM, etc…you are going to love Eisler’s writing.

Even though I received an ARC, could not wait to listen to the audiobook. (highly recommend both). You need the digital or hardcopy for reference; however, the audiobook is exceptional. Eisler narrates his own book— (a clever move) --no one could have delivered such an explosive performance with the same intensity. A cautionary tale. Readers are going to love Marcus and Evie. Intense! The author grabs you from the first page to the last.

If you enjoyed the book, highly recommend reading, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, by Glenn Greenwald. (great audio)

As the author has reiterated in his interviews regarding the novel, the CIA and FBI have used multiple means of surveillance (nothing new) over the years to discredit and derail movements even back in the sixties and earlier. Of course today, technology has many advances with sophisticated and intrusive tools at the government’s disposal—you can only imagine how easy it would be to facilitate. Nothing is private. You are being tracked. From cell phones to internet, emails, chats, social media, spying, mapping connections, IP addresses, etc. Monitor and Control."

Can you say interconnectivity? The government can hack into anything or anyone’s life. From the internet---corporate, airlines, cars, etc.

“And of course, there's news about breaches, which means foreign organizations, criminals, and blackmailers can gain access to that confidential information, as well. You can name your villains--either in reality or in fiction--Russians, Chinese, Iranians, or any mafia organization. If there's a back door to this classified information, these organizations will be there to open and exploit it.”

As a whistleblower, you have to decide do you want to turn the other way, or bring forward the misconduct and prepare for the fight of your life.

An avid legal, political and crime thriller fan, THE GOD’S EYE VIEW crosses a number of genres to satisfy a wide range of readers. Fans of Lee Child, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, and Michael Lewis’ The Big Short (book/movie tie in) will delight. Ideal front cover and title. (loved the research and liberties taken). Ideal for the Big Screen--I want a front row seat!

On a personal note: “For the Whistleblowers!”
As a former whistleblower (SOX Sarbanes-Oxley 2002); corporate accountability, pales in comparison to the magnitude (biggest security leak in US history) of Edward Snowden, and our US surveillance state, today. Hats off to him, and the many other government security whistleblowers, as well as all the courageous reporters, and journalists—risking their lives and families, to protect others. (as depicted here in the fictional version)—all so true.

Thank you, Barry for the awareness and dedication to whistleblowers, everywhere.

Profile Image for Bruce Perrin.
Author 9 books79 followers
March 2, 2017
Theme: A; Character development: C

At the center, The God’s Eye View is about balancing the government’s need to monitor its citizens in order to deter terrorism and the rights of the individual to privacy. There are, of course, any number of these balancing acts in our daily lives – in medical research, in the use of military power, in the use of force in policing, and so on. But the monitoring vs. privacy tug-of-war will continue to gain momentum as time goes on due to the meteoric rise of surveillance technology. It is, quite simply, a theme for the times and for the future, and for that reason alone, The God’s Eye View is a worthwhile read.

Of course, the author has the government, in the form of NSA Director Theodore Anders, so far beyond the point of equilibrium in this balancing act, there is never any question of government vs. individual. It’s more a question of which individuals will live and which will die in Director Anders’ quest to keep his last technological marvel out of the public’s gaze. Pitted against Anders is Evelyn Gallagher, the developer and primary analyst on NSA’s camera and facial recognition network, just one small cog in the overall NSA surveillance machine. And with strict compartmentalization of information, Evie has no way to know just what she is up against.

The story is very well written, producing a fair amount of adrenaline in my bloodstream that served no purpose other than keeping me awake to the wee hours. There were a couple of ideas that were somewhat overworked, e.g., Evie is a divorced, working mother who would do almost anything to protect her son. But overall, the flow of the story was good. For those who are squeamish, the violence is somewhat graphic, although consistent with the plot. By comparison, the sex was also somewhat explicit, but I’m not sure what the grope-by-grope description did to further the story; it seemed out of place and serving no purpose beyond checking another box in a commercial success formula.

My primary concern with the book, however, was in the development of the characters. Every author uses stereotypes as a crutch. Readers immediately recognize the boring accountant or the timid librarian. But usually, that method is reserved for secondary characters when depth is unnecessary, saving the author a lot of stress on the wrists. But in The God’s Eye View, it felt as if there were few characters that were not primarily stereotypes. It ended up feeling like a world inhabited by caricatures, rather than people. But even so, that limitation did not outweigh a well-written plot and a timely theme.

Overall, The God’s Eye View is a solid read, significant because over time, technology-driven surveillance has the potential to give the government absolute power over the populace. And we all know that if power tends to corrupt, what absolute power will do.
Profile Image for Sandy.
873 reviews215 followers
February 2, 2016
3.5 stars

If you're a high tech enthusiast or fan of conspiracy theories, this thriller is for you. It's all about what happens when big brother-like capabilities & the resulting power end up in the wrong hands.
In this story, those hands belong to General Theodore Anders. As director of NSA, this is a man who thinks all people should be microchipped at birth. He's spent years isolating various departments under his control, ensuring no one can see the whole picture but him. A God's eye view for a man with a God complex.
One of his employees is Evie Gallagher, a talented programmer who may be too clever for her own good. When she begins to suspect the truth behind a series of deaths, she unwittingly places herself in Ander's crosshairs & life as she know it is over.

It's a modern take on the struggle between good & evil. Much time & space is devoted to descriptions of various government programs, weapons & computer systems. Everyone speaks in acronyms & the author provides a history lesson on the fate of whistle blowers such as Edward Snowden. His vast knowledge is matched only by an obvious passion regarding the war between personal freedoms & intrusive governments.
And while the passages were interesting & sometimes chilling, what was missing for me was the human element. There's a massive amount of factual information here that at times gives the book a didactic tone. The characters are almost secondary, necessary to move the story along but not as well developed as the gizmos & components at a government's disposal.
Anders is one dimensional, an arrogant man with no redeeming qualities. Evie is his perfect foil, representing the side of good in this battle of morality & ethics. It's ironic that neither is as complex as the electronic toys that populate the story. But maybe that's the point.
It's certainly a departure from the author's John Rain series that was chock full of characters who seemed to live & breathe between the pages. So I guess it all comes down to that intangible factor of personal taste. Those into cybertech will clap their hands in glee. But if your eyes glaze over while reading the manual for a new cell phone.....
No matter which camp you fall into, it will scare the bejeezus out of all. It's a cautionary tale that will make you wonder how much is actually fiction. And you might think twice about using that new phone.
Profile Image for Debra Martin.
Author 20 books249 followers
December 16, 2015
In the post-Snowden era, the NSA survived the revealing of several sensitive programs, but the fact that their spying applications were made public, has meant they needed to do things different. Director Anders believes the best way to stop terrorist attacks is to know EVERYTHING. That's what the God's Eye program does. No one is untouchable and all is revealed, but what happens when one man believes any cost is worth protecting his precious program. This is the crux of "The God's Eye View." NSA analyst Evie Gallagher had designed a new camera network and facial recognition program and she does her job well, that is, until the day she sees something she's not supposed. Thus begins the game of cat and mouse, but which one is Evie?

"The God's Eye View" is a fast-paced thriller with lots of twists and turns throughout the story. The main characters, Anders, Gallagher and Manus were nicely fleshed out. The author let us in on their inner thinking and their flaws. Before Snowden had exposed the NSA, I would have thought this book was a bit far-fetched, but now, I think this fictional scenario could very well contain seeds of truth and is entirely plausible. That's what makes the book so good. I was riveted to it until the very last page. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Zeynep Gunduz Seyhan.
259 reviews13 followers
October 18, 2017
kitap #snowden vakasından sonra yazılmış. Yazarın da belirttiği gibi eğer olaydan önce yazılsaydı “ne komplo teorileri üretmiş bee” diyebileceğim şeylere “valla yapmıştır bu Amerika, herşey beklenir onlardan” deyip okudum 😳 “big brother”ın ne kadar biiiiiiiggggg olduğunu bir çok dip notla açıklayan bir kitap. Teknoloji devrimi ile mahremiyetimizin nasıl yok edildiğini ve sen saklandığını zannederken aslında nasıl da göze battığını okumak sarsıcıydı 😨 bilgi güçtür ve güce sahip olma isteği insanı yoldan çıkartabiliyor. Ve kitabın sonunda görüyoruz ki Kişiler değişse de olaylar hiç değişmiyor 🤦🏻‍♀️

📍 kitap Amerika’da başlıyor, Türkiye ve Suriye’ye uğruyor ve tekrar Amerika’da son buluyor. İçinde işidden Ergenekon’a kadar birçok yapılanma konu edilmiş. Tabi kitabı kapatınca insan şöyle bir düşünmeden edemiyor:” işid’i kim destekliyor, Ergenekon’u kim ortaya çıkarttı, kimler Ergenekon davası adı altında hiç yoktan suçlandı, bunlar kimin ekmeğine yağ sürdü?”
📍 yani demem o ki, kitap çok güzel. Alın okuyun dünyada neler dönüyor ilk ağızdan şahit olun.
Profile Image for Larry Bassett.
1,395 reviews290 followers
August 5, 2016
Recently the daily email from audible.com offered me this book for $2.95. I have got to say I got my moneys worth! But this is a very intense book with a bunch of characters that are to say the least way out there. Familiar names are dropped from the whistleblower and spy worlds. It is filled with spooks and politicians who fit easily into the category of scum. But I could hardly put the book down and was gripped throughout as I bounced from believability to incredulity. One of the fun parts about this audible book was that it was read by the author himself. He did a good job. I sure would like to think that this story could never be true but it does seem like maybe some bits of it already are.
Profile Image for Todd Simpson.
717 reviews33 followers
January 28, 2016
Quite simply brilliant ! This is a spy thriller that moves along at a quick pace, and has plenty things happening to keep the reader guessing. Having a couple of deaf characters really added to the story, and gave a bit more insight into what they deal with. I already loved Barry Eisler's other books, especially his John Rain series. This is another great story by a very talented writer.
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