From: Chuck Anziulewicz
Location: Spring Hill, West Virginia
I just finished reading "Quantico" and just wanted to express my admiration to you for writing such a gripping, frightening novel filled with so many well-drawn characters. Although Pete Farrow was not one of the MAJOR players, he stood out for me especially in the colorful way he had of expressing himself; I was reminded a bit of the drill sergeant in "Full Metal Jacket."
One tiny bit of the novel stood out and made me chuckle. As the FBI agents conducting surveillance of The Partriarch's farm are wondering how to make contact with him, [FBI agent] Rebecca Rose suggests masquerading as a census-taker ... and I was suddenly reminded of "The Silence of the Lambs," when Hannibal Lecter famously tells [FBI agent] Clarice Starling, "I was tested by a census-taker once. I ate his liver with fava beans and nice chianti."
Your book also made me want to learn more about Islam, and I ended up looking up articles on Mecca and the Masjid al-Haram. Did you have someone who has done Hajj help you with some of the segments that took place there?
Scariest, of course, was your speculation about how easy it might be in the future for terrorists and other nasty people to manufacture genetically-modified pathogens. What little I know about prion diseases suggests to me that it may not be possible to use them in the way you portray (correct me if I'm wrong) ... but STILL, it's quite feasible that gene-assembly technology could very easily fall into the wrong hands. Do you remain optimistic that the nations of this world might be able to act together to keep such things from happening?
Again, thank you for a really gripping read!
From: Greg Bear
Glad you enjoyed QUANTICO, Chuck. I admire SILENCE OF THE LAMBS... perhaps unconscious homage? What we know about prion diseases suggests that even a small number of misformed proteins of this type could be "infectious." How they get into the body may be irrelevant. For more info about various topics, please drop by www.quanticothebook.com
This goes back about a month, but at the time, I wasn't done with Quantico, and didn't want to spoil anything. And, this is a small point, though in a certain light, significant:
Full Metal Jacket was about Marines. Marines are Drill INSTRUCTORS. The army has drill sergeants. Further, Farrow was not like one. Just before the training exercise, he chides one of the candidates for how she acknowledged her readiness, saying 'they aren't gyrines'.