Reviewer Joe Broadmeadow.
Joe is the author of Collision Course and Silenced
Justice both Josh Williams Novels, and Spirit of
the Trail. Joe is retired with the rank of Captain from the East
Providence, Rhode Island Police Department after twenty years. He was
assigned to various divisions within the department including
Commander of Investigative Services and he also worked in the
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force as well as on special
assignment to the FBI Drug Task Force. Follow Here to find out more
about Joe and his novels and Here to read his blog.
Author: Chris Thomas
Until Philosophers become Kings by Chris Thomas is one of those increasingly rare books. Well written, insightful, and challenging Thomas takes a common theme and turns it into something special.
Thomas puts you in the mind of his main character, Ray Ortega (although he goes by a number of names in the story, we will call him just Ray), an undercover DEA agent. Tasked with infiltrating a new and growing Mexican drug cartel, circumstances put Ray into the inner circle; part of a small, trusted group of personal security for the man known as El Condor de Muerte-the Condor of Death
Thomas does a masterful job of peeling away the onionskin layers of intrigue, deception, and corruption. He poses a terrible ethical dilemma. Like the title, a quote from the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato, Thomas paints an excellent picture of how complex our world is.
Thomas does a good job of making the reader experience the tension and stress of a deep undercover. His portrayal of Ray as both dedicated and thoughtful blends with his questioning whether living within the law is always the right thing.
The characters Ray encounters are three dimensional, well portrayed, and human. There are those that are easy to despise, the greedy, the corrupt, the brutal. There are those that are more complex. Some of the inner circle believe that their plan of eliminating rival Cartels, stopping the violence, and using their enormous profits from drug trafficking for the public good outweighs the moral complications.
Until philosophers become kings in essence is this. Until those that think and those that hold power become one in the same, governments will never live up to their full potential and will continue to abuse their power.
Thomas takes this philosophical truth and puts it into action within a believable story. The Condor of Death offers a glimpse of what such a person might look like. One who understands the process of political power today, the realities of the unstoppable demand for drugs in the US and the rest of the world, and the need to manage the brutality of the drug cartels.
His plan to accomplish this is both Machiavellian and brilliant. Using the resources from drug profits to further his aims, his plan sets in motion a tension packed series of events with Ray in the middle. Unable to contact his DEA handler because of tight security around the Condor, Ray must find a way to get out the information he has obtained and avoid being killed in the process.
I recommend Until Philosophers become Kings. The book will hold your attention, capture your imagination, and make you think. A great read.