“Warning Light” by David Ricciardi creates a Jack Ryan-type character that is on the run from Iranians. Readers are reminded of a former TV series, “The Fugitive,” with this novel being a 21st Century re-make, foreign style. The protagonist, Zac Miller, has to become a survivalist in order to escape.
Ricciardi enjoys the outdoors and wanted to write about something “I know about and I am at home around nature. I spend a lot of time in the woods and desert.”
“Once my family and I took a plane that dropped us off in Alaska,” he said. “We were alone, without any technology, put in the middle of nowhere, 25 miles from the nearest road. This is something I wanted to share with readers, which is why I wrote this book quote, ‘In an age where there is a GPS in every car, and place, I (Zac) had to make my way navigating with the sun.’ The feeling of trying to survive is what I wanted to convey. What drove Zac can best be described by the Winston Churchill quote, ‘When you are going through hell, by all means keep going.’”
Zac Miller is a CIA analyst who normally works behind a desk. He has some preparation because of the agency requirement that all have to undergo basic hand-to-hand combat skills. Thanks to a month of training he underwent at the CIA’s clandestine operations training facility at Camp Perry, Va., Zac was somewhat equipped.
He decided on impulse to volunteer to have his boss, Peter Clements send him on a quick mission, to take a few long-distance photos of a secret Iranian nuclear complex. Due to severe mechanical issues, created as a decoy, a commercial flight heading to Singapore is forced to make an emergency landing in the heart of Iran’s forbidden zone. Zac takes a few pictures of the mountain and the sunset but unfortunately for him, it caught the attention of the Iranian military. He was brought in for questioning because they believe his intentions are more than innocent. After being taken prisoner the Iranians drug, torture, threaten, beat and abuse him. Knowing if he does not escape he will die he finds a way to overwhelm his captives. This is where the adventure begins.
To show the corruptness of the Iranian regime, “I wrote how they want to undermine these societies that don’t agree with their belief system,” Ricciardi said. “They are the biggest sponsor of state terrorism as the military and religious leaders run the place. They have starved their own people so they can build nuclear weapons. Anyone who voices disagreement gets arrested and locked up.”
The story is very believable since many Americans, including tourists, hikers and businessmen, have been captured and tortured by the Iranians as they accuse them of being spies. There is also a scene in the book that should remind people of the Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell, where Zac confronts a herder and must decide to allow him to live or kill him. As a survivalist, Zac must make the ultimate decision of who shall live and who shall die.
The author compares his story to Homer’s “The Odyssey.”
“I would read this to my children all the time. The struggle to return back home from the Battle of Troy, having to travel through all these different lands with the many different struggles influenced me. Every turn he made he encountered a new obstacle that he had to get around.”
“Warning Light” has many aspects of the story including technological, political-geographical and multi-cultural information. It is not only entertaining but informative as well. Readers will root for Zac to use his knowledge, resourcefulness, and training to complete his mission.