Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Brian - turn that counter over to # 2.

"events unfold at such speed, yet both plod".   Brian - you've just summarized everything perfectly.  Exxoneration really does move at breakneck speed, yet every time we build to a scene of potentially high drama, someone has to take the time to explain things at length.  The judge's summary, the Saudi Arabian minister's lesson in OPEC geopolitics - it's always a good time to stop and go over things.

You've both already talked about the extremely discomforting way the President being Jewish is handled.  The big reveal is rather unnerving; even for its time it's a little ......... indelicate.

I know I made a comment about their being no love story in Ultimatum and after the liaison between Cameron and de Gaspe, I'm sorry I asked.  That flirtation scene was particularly painful - Maggie got to tell de Gaspe all about himself ("Here you are, thirty-nine years old, tall, dark and handsome, and enormously intelligent and well educated"), he gets to soak it in and compliment her on being appointed by the PM to both the Senate and Board of PetroCan ("I might say that that was one of his better movements on the day he did it, or should I say actions").

Wait a minute - what?

And can I get picky here, but who copy-edited it?  My quote above reproduces "well educated" as it appears - without the hyphen; in one scene de Gaspe "lay (on his bed) starting (sic) at the ceiling"; in another Judge Avory  praises the Exxon witnesses "expecially (sic) Mr. McGarvey".  I came across 7 or 8 of these; the last two are the only ones I wrote down.

But I must say - in the end it was more fun than Ultimatum - aside from the looney military interlude that I expected would go on throughout most of the book - I find Rohmer has a much better grasp of creating a story that takes place in the financial world.   And in Senator Weinstein, we have a sort-of- kinda villain who doesn't speak in explication.  Admittedly his purposely grating "Pierre Baby"  makes him sound more like what 70s sitcoms told us slick Hollywood agents sounded like rather than a devious politician, at least he didn't sound like every other character in the book.

So do we go on to Periscope Red?


  1. And this isn't worthy of a post so I'm sticking it in a comment, but since there was no problem naming the new president, what exactly was the point of hiding the name of the previous president in Ultimatum? Was it supposed to be obvious who it was?

  2. I think it's because Rohmer is figuring out things are he goes along. That's what I'm enjoying the most -- and why I think we should try to read this stuff in order. It's not just that he's never written a thriller before... you wonder if he's ever read a thriller before. He's like a kid or something... what do thrillers have? Maps! And chapters start with dates and locations! In Ultimatum, all he can do to let you know the President is from Texas is have him announce it. In Exxoneration at least two characters have (terrible) regional speech patterns. Even besides the "listen, baby" thing. And he tries a sex scene, sort of. And a couple of theatrical bits of misdirection (I honestly didn't ask myself where the Swiss banks get the money) and some description of jet-setters living the high life.