The Bottom Line: Tomas Byrne scores again with an important and relentless political thriller that will have you pondering conspiracy theories long into the night.
Fugitives Kate Farrow and Joe Hawkins have given up everything to expose an arms-for-oil scheme. Now hiding out in rural Iceland, with only each other to turn to for comfort, the MI6 psychiatrist and American terrorism analyst take a breather to ponder their next move. But when a helicopter gunship strafes their idyllic refuge, it’s clear that the world’s most powerful organizations will stop at nothing to silence them.
They soon learn of Green Way, an activist group with whom they share a mutual enemy – a multinational energy corporation tasked with bribing politicians all over the globe to deny the existence or impact of global warming. If they work together, can they surface enough evidence to bring their tormentors down once and for all?
Tipping Point begins where Byrne’s superb Skin in the Game left off. In that book, Farrow and Hawkins both paid a high price for their integrity. That theme continues in Tipping Point, as the two – who are not just fugitives, but also lovers – find themselves even deeper into the fray. Accordingly, Byrne wisely takes the story out of the glamorous global cities that provided the backdrop of his freshman effort and moves into remote places such as Iceland and the badlands of South Dakota. The effect is literary nirvana, as Byrne paints landscapes that even masters like Cormac McCarthy would be proud of. The result is a book that is both wholly engrossing and gorgeous.
To its credit, Tipping Point is an unabashedly political work of art in the vein of Syriana. If you’ve ever wondered how politicians can deny man-made climate change when 99% of the world’s scientists are convinced that it exists, then Byrne’s new novel will provide ample fuel for your imagination.