THIS thriller by Mattias Berg highlights the subject of nuclear armaments, and the topic couldn’t be more relevant in this age of Trump and Kim Jung Un playing nuclear poker.
The book is a slow burn and can be quite boring initially, so the reader will either love it or hate it. The game being played here has the highest stakes – the destruction of the world in a nuclear Armageddon.
It’s also an exploration of the human mind when faced with manipulation, and the issue of potential holocaust.
It also puts Sweden at the heart of the story because Sweden, like many nations in Europe, was always at the heart of the Cold War.
The story opens with the US President’s trip to Sweden in 2013, which is hastily arranged.
Erasmus Levine is the carrier of the briefcase containing the code for the nuclear launch, and is part of a special team run by Edelweiss.
It’s a team designed to be close to the president and to act independent of the CIA, NSA, Secret Service and FBI, in case of an emergency.
Unbeknownst to everyone, Levine is also secretly in communication with a mysterious figure known as Alpha, who leads an anti- nuclear weapons task force.
When an alarm goes off at the grand hotel, the president and first lady are evacuated through the city’s underground tunnel network, a leftover of the Swedish nuclear programme.
Levine then makes his escape, taking a nurse with him as a hostage. In the panic, he gets away with the briefcase.
He finally meets Alpha, a figure from his past, but in the process, he has become a fugitive hunted by the might of the American security machine and his boss, Edelweiss, who feels personally betrayed and responsible.
Levine is now part of a much larger conspiracy to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But can he survive the challenges? The story ramps up towards the end as the fate of the world is in the balance.
The Carrier is a novel that make you ponder what would happen if a nuclear war actually breaks out.