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The Bird That Flies Highest

The Bird That Flies Highest

(1997)
A novel by

 
As 21st Century Globalization moves closer to tyranny, one charismatic visionary embarks on the crime of the century.

The year is 2013. Jim Anderson's AZI-Group controls over 10% of all global production, and they want more. Standing in their way: competitor Bates/McMillan, owned by the unconventional tech-head, Mike McMillan. Working people everywhere increasingly resent the power of the AZI-Group, but have nowhere to turn.

Enter Baruch. The thirty-nine year-old Austrian's blend of philosophy, theology, and charisma offers an irresistible cure for the hope-starved masses. While worshipped by many, the global business giants, namely Jim Anderson, perceive Baruch as a nuisance. In August, following an interview with WNN Worldwide in which Baruch humiliated Jim Anderson, Baruch disappeared.

The search is on. Jim Anderson puts senior reporters Greg Lancy and Maggie Helbling on the case, giving them carte blanche. During Greg's investigation in Austria, he discovers that a overachieving Dutch agent (Marco) has been tracking Baruch...well before the mysterious disappearance. Greg then learns that Marco works for WNN! By this time, people are beginning to suspect that the AZI-Group is behind Baruch's absence.

In early September, an offshore rig of The AZI-Group's oil division (Oiltron ) on the Caspian Sea explodes. Reports link the environmental group, Human Race, to the disaster. Later reports indicate that Baruch calls the shots for Human Race. Is he a prophet or a terrorist? Both WBG and WNN decide he's a terrorist, putting their respective spin machines on overdrive.

On September 7, 2013, Scott McNally and Jim Anderson receive videodisks from Baruch. They are warned: "by destroying me, you destroy yourselves." The same day, Greg and Maggie learn that Jim Anderson wants Baruch killed; that Jim Anderson created Baruch as a sort of unofficial "spiritualist" for the AZI-Group; that Baruch was devised to buy the souls of the people. Who's telling the truth?

The next day, Baruch appears at competitor's WBG's Los Angeles studio and conducts a one hour interview, denouncing the AZI-Group as global tyrants who wish to eliminate him, and calling on the people to "think your own thoughts." Upon his arrival in Chicago later that evening, Baruch is shot and killed. The world mourns another martyr.

But, Frank Schleier, Baruch's confidante, returns to Baruch's hometown in Austria, where "the truth" awaits him. Frank discovers that Mike McMillan worked for Baruch, and that Baruch, a kamikaze kingmaker, had devised a plan to topple Jim Anderson, and replace him, no matter how high the cost. Baruch wins.

The AZI-Group is divested. Mike McMillan and Jerry Bates become the planet's new benevolent despots. Two months after Baruch's death the world has been turned on its head.

Inside a packed ballroom a banner reads: "A Tribute to Baruch: A man of vision". Greg, Maggie, Charley, and Mike McMillan stand in the back and listen to the speaker. Maggie sets her hand on Mike's shoulder and theorizes in a harmless tone.

"Jim Anderson is out. The AZI-Group is forced to divest Oiltron. And now, you're on top, Mike. If I were a skeptic like Charley, it would almost appear that this was all planned from the beginning."

"Are you saying a conspiracy, Maggie?" Mike asks lightly.

"Yeah, I guess so."

With an eerie gaze, Mike answers, " Life's a progression of conspiracies. Some are simply better than others."

THE KEY PLAYERS

* Jim Anderson: CEO of the planet's largest corporation, The AZI-Group. Jim's media division, WNN, dominates global coverage. He's Ivy League; he knows the rules of conquest; and, he plays to destroy.

* Scott McNally: President of WNN and Jim Anderson's hatchet-man.

* Greg Lancy/Maggie Helbling: Two senior WNN investigative reporters attempting to find the vanished Baruch, and discovering their own identity on the way.

* Mike McMillan: President of Bates/McMillan, and Jim Anderson's biggest competitor. This Irishman and his partner, Jerry Bates, are the new global corporation on the rise, and their media division, WBG, poses a significant threat to Jim Anderson.

* Baruch: A worldly, charismatic Austrian who has captured the imagination of the people. His humanistic message undermines big business' and big media's plans for further consolidation.

* Charley Hardeway: High-strung anti-establishment reporter and supporter of Baruch.

* Professor Schleier: Baruch's best friend.

* Marco van Wels: Former Interpol agent from Amsterdam, who is hired to find Baruch "at all costs".

 
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