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The God's Eye View Hardcover – February 2, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 609 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove was having its run, service people left the theater muttering, “That wasn’t a satire. That’s what they’re like.” So it is with Eisler’s fine thriller. His power-mad loons, who pull the levers of supersecret government organizations, aren’t exaggerated for dramatic effect. We know that because Eisler has appended an eighteen-page guide to all the nasty stuff governments do in the name of national security. His achievement, though, is to make this cybersnoop world not just a backdrop but instead a vital—and wonderfully vile—character on its own. Evelyn Gallagher, head of the NSA’s camera network and facial-recognition program, observes a meeting between a reporter and a would-be whistle-blower. She reports it to her boss, who decides the two must be killed and Evelyn spied upon because now she knows too much. The agent sent to monitor her is not quite what the boss thinks, and the personal and cyberfink stories are blended beautifully. Tension and action spice the plot, but that’s all that can be revealed here. Someone might be watching. —Don Crinklaw, Starred Review


An Amazon.com Best Books of the Month Selection: Mystery & Thriller

“Eisler’s expert knowledge of spycraft and hand-to-hand combat combine with his ultra-deep distrust of government intelligence to propel this suspenseful yarn into the front ranks of paranoid thrillers.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A timely thriller that will make readers wonder how much the government really knows about them...An engaging tale about a serious issue. Read it and squirm.” —Kirkus Reviews

“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. 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.” —Blake Crouch, author of The Wayward Pines Series

“Barry Eisler writes terrific political thrillers, but they have a deeper message. He wants us to think about the surveillance state we’re creating, a world of pervasive spying on everything we say and do. This book will entertain, as all good thrillers do, but it'll also ask you to consider the price we'll all pay if unaccountable governments know everything about us while we know little or nothing about what they do with our money and in our names.” —Dan Gillmor, teacher of digital media literacy at Arizona State University, journalist, and author

“Barry Eisler takes us into the most forbidding—and forbidden—places, programs, and conversations in the Intelligence Community. We’re in the room as the generals and bureaucrats charged with protecting us instead plot to deny Americans our constitutional liberties. It’s not pretty, and blood is going to be spilled. The only way I can sleep after reading this book is by trying to convince myself it’s fiction.” —John Kiriakou, whistleblower, former CIA

“Creepy. This story is much more plausible than I expected—or care to admit.” —Chelsea Manning, former army intelligence analyst and transparency advocate

“An absolute page-turner I couldn't put down—complete with real world details and references. If you want to learn why we should fear the NSA, while being tremendously entertained, this is the book for you.” —Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Techdirt

“Barry Eisler has done it again. The God’s Eye View is a character-driven action tale grounded in real-life events. With the knowledge of an intelligence community insider, Eisler explores the slippery slope of authoritarian impulses that are unleashed when fear and power combine in unaccountable government agencies, and the destruction—of lives and ideals—that inevitably follows.” —Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First

The God’s Eye View is a delicious, thrilling read about a deep state surveillance program that even Edward Snowden did not unearth…This page-turner is replete with references to real-life voices of truth and transparency, and shows how easily and quickly democracy can be subverted by government secrecy and unchecked power.” —Jesselyn Radack, lawyer for Edward Snowden

“There are few authors alive who can weave real-life headlines and state-of-the-art technology into riveting storytelling as convincingly as Eisler. The God's Eye View is a prescient and page-turning tale about just how powerful secretive government spy agencies like the NSA have become...and how quickly they can spin out of control.” —Trevor Timm, executive director, Freedom of the Press Foundation

“This is the nightmare scenario: when the director of our national surveillance machine goes out of control. But there are certainly hints in both leaked and released documents that such a scenario might be possible, as well as in the ease with which intelligence officials can contract out specific tasks. The God’s Eye View is a compelling picture of why we need to rein in our surveillance state. Plus, it's an awesome read.” —Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503951510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503951518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (609 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. D. Barnum VINE VOICE on February 1, 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been reading Eisler's novels since he started the John Rain series of books in the early 2000's. Just so there is no doubt as to where I am coming from - I am a fan.

This book is very fast paced and I had a hard time putting it down - wanted to get back to reading it whenever I could. That is, to me, the mark of a good book.

This novel is a tale of the NSA Director's overreach. He will go to any lengths to protect the new methods the NSA has developed to spy on the world. If you are of the opinion that Snowden should be prosecuted as a traitor, and possibly shot, this novel is not for you, however, if you fear that the government has gone way, way too far and it an active threat to our rights of privacy, then this novel will fit neatly into your belief structure. However, if you are like most of us - somewhere between those two extreme views - this novel's message, which the author keeps pounding away at, will, after a time, become overkill.

But, if you are looking for a good action novel, based upon the current state of technology in the surveillance field, then this is a good book for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
-C.S. Lewis

Barry Eisler could not have paid better homage to that quote had he tried. The ever-evolving surveillance state, the nanny state, that the West is becoming has never been more frighteningly portrayed than in his newest book. The fact that it is not yet here is more a limitation of current technology than of intent. Having worked as a federal agent for over two decades, I can attest firsthand to a not insignificant portion of the security field that would very much welcome such emergent technology. With glee. Make no mistake, its not avarice or power that drives them, for the most part (although those benefits aren't unappreciated). It's that no cost is too high to pay for safety. And while others of us firmly believe in our Constitutional oaths and fight against these incursions into civil liberties, the rubber really meets the road where elected officials with authorization powers exist. They are the ones who determine yay or nay. They hold the keys to the kingdom.

So be careful who you put into positions of authority in this modern, technological era. Because Barry Eisler's very well written, thrilling book is more than just a stirring tale, although it is that. It's a cautionary tale. Give the wrong people the right access to technology, and it might become eerily, frighteningly prescient.

And all for your own good.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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I found this book to be uneven. It veers from basic cartoon sketches of the stock characters' thoughts and feelings (which I had a hard time taking seriously) into hyper-real, lingering, well-developed scenes of sex and violence (which I had a hard time reading). Weird inconsistencies substitute for character growth. The didactic passages that other reviewers have noted can be kind of annoying as well. (I'm not sure the author got the "show, don't tell" memo.) The story arc is quite predictable -- but what DO you do to circumvent total information awareness, technically speaking? This is a subject the author knows something about, and I was curious enough to keep reading. If you're interested in the NSA subject matter, this is a thriller with footnotes. Literally! But as a novel? It just didn't come alive for me.

I was curious about the accuracy of his portrayal of the characters who use American Sign Language. They had some extremely detailed and subtle conversations, often at very tense moments, and I'd love to know how realistic that was.

I haven't read any other books by this author, but this is not a book that puts him in a class with Michael Connolly.
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