The Outer Circle

It’s 2024 and the world is divided, pitting the US against China and Russia. In China, domestic unrest pushes the leadership to act against Taiwan. In Russia, under the surface a power struggle is brewing. Such is the backdrop of the U.S. presidential elections where the established parties face a challenge from political newcomers.The two heroes of The Great Game, now fugitives, discover that not everything is what it seems and someone invisible is pulling the strings behind the scenes. But can they stop the world from sliding into a war?


“As the last book in the trilogy, The Outer Circle will best be enjoyed by prior readers who will find the initial premise, characters and setting all play out to a gripping conclusion. The book is set in the near future of 2024, two years after the The Great Game concluded. The story opens with the scenario of the ‘big three’ (the U.S., Russia and China) locked in a deadly game of international struggle as the U.S. Presidential elections loom. But those who come upon The Outer Circle and presume its timeframe translates to a dystopian science fiction piece might be surprised to learn that it’s actually a political thriller, taking today’s circumstances and moving them outward to their logical conclusions.

Bell’s ability to take the ordinary facets of modern times and translate them into one future possibility is part of what lends The Outer Circle such realism and strength. The other lies in its political savvy, which deftly outlines high-level national associations, rationales for actions, and individual choices in the matter; all based on historical precedent. Without giving away the story line, suffice it to say that as a political thriller steeped in action and insight, The Outer Circle‘s story is difficult to put down. Just when the reader believes they have the entire picture, something else enters to give everything a twist and a new perspective. The readers will find its premises realistic and the characters believable as they roll through an involving story packed with underlying messages on privacy, surveillance, interconnected worlds and uncertain political and economic world alliances.”

D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Readers’ Comments

“This is a great story! Love, intrigue, money, politics, international plots, danger, and more! The Outer Circle is the third novel in the exciting Trilogy that began with The Metronome and The Great Game. The Outer Circle is the important conclusion of the Trilogy and begins in 2024. Projecting what will happen in the future from current events is a rare skill. This author demonstrates his broad knowledge of history, the financial markets, politics and people. His characters are believable, interesting and psychologically authentic. In addition to the great story, the author warns of the consequences of the destruction of the middle class and growing inequality, the dangers posed by an increasingly aggressive Russia and China, the increase in surveillance of our activities by both government and industry and the erosion of liberty. A fabulous new author who will entertain and educate. His thought-provoking novels are a treasure. The Commentary at the conclusion of each novel is a vital addition to aid the reader in understanding our world.”  By Joyce Shulman, PhD

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From the Author

The Outer Circle is the last book in the Counterpoint Trilogy, following The Metronome and The Great Game. While The Metronome and The Great Game were standalone books, with little overlap between the characters, The Outer Circle brings together the characters of the two earlier novels into the story’s conclusion. The novel is set in 2024, two years after The Great Game concluded. United States, China, and Russia are locked in a geopolitical struggle, which serves as a backdrop for the U.S. Presidential elections.

What will the world look like in nine years? Most books about the future are either dystopian or science fiction with only a cursory nod to the current reality. I tried to set the story against one possible scenario that’s reasonably grounded in our present. We are witnessing simultaneous yet contradictory trends: tremendous generation of wealth vs. growing inequality, centralization vs. localization, ever-bigger “too big to fail” institutions vs. individual-empowering sharing services, unprecedented access to information vs. continuing loss of privacy, the American supremacy vs. the rise of China and emerging Beijing – Moscow axis. Technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, drones, self-driving cars and cryptocurrencies are disrupting the existing order. Now, these trends coexist. Eventually, they will collide. When, how and with what outcome, that is the question.

I don’t think it’s realistic to make broad projections based on only one trend or technology because it always enables something else and so on. Each action causes a reaction. When we show imperial arrogance, other countries align against us. When inequality rises, so does discontent. When middle class is eroded, demagogues give rise to aggressive populist movements. When the balance between privacy and security tilts too far to the latter, people start looking for ways to protect their right to be left alone. When the government overreaches, people rebel.

Like other books in the trilogy, The Outer Circle is a fictional story of regular people thrown into challenging circumstances, not a discussion of social or technological trends. In The Metronome, Pavel Rostin faced his adversary Nikolai Nemzhov and lost. In The Great Game, Maggie and David also fought against Nikolai Nemzhov and won, but at a great personal cost. In The Outer Circle, the fate brings Maggie and David and Rostin’s family to face Nemzhov in one final conflict, with the stakes higher than ever.