Proteus by Morris West, originally published by William Morrow & Co., original © 1979.
Morris West spins a tale of combating evil within the confines of the Old Testament God: an eye for an eye, a wrong to beget a wrong. Victims of evil can forgive, but a witness to evil must act. When the legal structures of the western world, the democracies of the free, fail the meek and the weak who shall rally for their cause, raise and carry their banner, storm their Bastille?
John Spada, the righteous, millionaire industrialist, protagonist, and leader of the secret international organization: Proteus; saves the meek, rescues the innocent, teaches morality, one evil deed at a time. Spada and Proteus pick up where governments fail; achieving the freedom of the weak through the commission of criminal and immoral deeds. Spada wants to free all the prisoners of conscience, the political prisoners held by the depraved and savage governments of the world. To bring about their freedom murder and the threat of genocide are tools that he and Proteus are willing to use and do. Inhumanity opposing inhumanity achieves what? In this book it brings Spada only his death and infamy.
West produces a sophomoric and almost comic plot of moral paradoxes, matching evil deeds with evil deeds, opprobrious acts with no yin to balance the yang. Ouroboros’ cycles of life and death sans a meaningful life. A novel, opening with a decent plot but poorly executed and a truly abominable ending, but maybe West didn’t have any answers in the struggle against the ever encroaching darkness; just pinpricks of light in the far distance.