Dear Mr. Ludlum,
How ignorant I am. I have always thought life contained fairly straight-forward people: those who act righteously and selflessly and those who are greedy and cruel. Then your novel pulled me out of my cave, slowly but surely, and hurtled me off into unknown space, away from my safe, false, and childish beliefs of right and wrong, black and white, good and bad.
As I became engulfed by your novel, Sigma Protocol, the black and white of the pages blurred into the gray of the story. I soon came to realize that life and its situations are rarely what they seem to be, it's only one's perspective that can interpret them truly. Confusion overcame me as I thought about how I would react to an illusion that was spun for me to believe my whole life, only to have it come crashing down. Ben's anger and frustration at his dad is totally understandable considering the heartbreak of thinking you knew someone and then having the actual story revealed to you. That feeling is thankfully unimaginable and unreal for me. Yet I agreed with Ben's bitterness and resentment at the deceit and interwoven lies he had been" fed" as he realized that his own father had escaped the holocaust only because of being able to buy off the Nazis with big bucks. I was baffled by the complexity of your book, yet relieved and satisfied by your ending. Life has numerous twists and turns, many unpleasant, but to be able to exit this world peacefully, with hearts and consciences at rest, is an ending that is desired by many but accomplished by few.
On the other end, the thought of not knowing what life really is at all, or at least not until the end, frightened me. Would I ever know what the effect of my life was, or how I was received in this world? What if my life was just lived in a scheme composed by an elitist group such as Sigma? Might I be the bridge some pawn walks on, in a plan that's beyond my comprehension? This thought haunted me for several days, but I slowly came to the understanding that I would never know. This world is not at all how it appears; neither are the people living on it. My perspective is the only thing that I can control, and the only thing I can use to justify my actions and thoughts in, and about, life. I'm planning on living my life in a way that I'll feel that I've done something worth doing when I look back. Not worrying about unknown things. It's my perspective and judgment that defines what I think is worth doing and defines my life; and I've come to accept that.
Life deceives, lies, and takes away. Yet it also brings joy, love, and hope. The concept of life toys with my brain constantly, and hasn't shown any signs of letting up. Its miracle lies in the perspective and interpretation of every single individual that is graced by it. Life is not something to be regretted or wasted and it's not a time to worry about speculations, trivial concerns, or unseen problems. This time may not be the black and white of the news it creates, but it is a gray that is left to individual judgment and opinion.
Nolan L. Dickson