Department E

John Thomas

Are we a people increasingly given to complaining – needing to lay the blame on anyone but ourselves?

Is “wealth and fame” the only goal people have today? Do the wealthy deserve their wealth?

Now that most people believe that humans are just a kind of animal, won’t all ethics and morality totally collapse, in time? Don’t we see it happening now?

Just how far will human cloning, and “people-by-design”, eventually go?

Is sex no more than self-gratification?

Many now “believe in” humanity, humankind – what, actually, does that amount to?

Are we humans responsible to nothing but ourselves?

“ ‘Enabling Society to Fulfil Its Potential’ - that, Mr Jones, is my Department’s mission, that is what we stand for, and its potential - make no mistake - is very great.” “The most fulfilled society is that in which the individual realises his own potential beyond all others!”

Trapped in a tunnel after an explosion, a young man called Jones stumbles upon what appears to be the offices of a - literally - underground organisation. Assuming this to be a secret government department or military installation, he expects to be interrogated, then eventually released. To his surprise, he finds himself being lectured and harangued, for many days on end, by the strange, but polished and urbane person who appears to be in charge of the place, and only identifies himself as the “Chief Executive”, C. E. This “C. E.” reveals that his function is that of managing a large bureaucracy of information-gathers and social manipulators, working in what he insists is the “discreet” department, known only by the “meaningless designation” of E - the efficiency of which he demonstrates by proving that he knows more than a little about his uninvited guest. Rather than disposing of Jones, however, or mistreating him, C. E. attempts to convert the young man to the ideas and values which Department E “stands for”.

After various mishaps, Jones is helped by a not-so-ordinary secretary, Silverthorne, with whom he eventually finds himself in a Victorian castle on the Welsh coast, and there discovers the full import and significance of the way by which C. E.’s department - and its dreaded Director - seek to impose their will on the human race.

This imaginative novel of ideas and action presents a Christian critique of the contemporary world, its values and motivations, the book’s situations, themes and characters recalling Screwtape, Nineteen Eighty-Four and House of Cards’ Francis Urquhart.


2004 ISBN 0 9534304 3 X

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