Book Club Questions: Code of Conduct

July 7, 2015

Book Club1. An early reader of CODE OF CONDUCT said she knew from reading Brad’s earlier thrillers how Scot Harvath thought, but, in this novel, she learns how he feels. What did you learn about Harvath in CODE OF CONDUCT? Did this novel change how you think of and feel about Harvath? If so, how?

2. In CODE OF CONDUCT, Brad compares Washington, DC to a modern Rome – “an empire in miniature” – a world of its own, a boom town populated by “New Romans” whose primary motivation is self-preservation. What do modern Washington, D.C. and the Roman Empire have in common? How are they different? What can be done to prevent the U.S. from suffering the same fate as the Roman Empire?

3. Pierre Damien is a particularly sinister – and complex — villain. How did you feel about this character? What are some of his most intriguing attributes?

4. In the opening chapter of CODE OF CONDUCT, Scot Harvath suggests that, “[t]he worth of a culture… could be boiled down to one thing – how well that culture takes care of its weakest members, particularly its women and children.” Do you agree or disagree? What are other measures of a society’s worth?

5. CODE OF CONDUCT includes a concept from Che Guevara, a figure fetishized by the counter culture. Guevara was known for saying that, “Revolution is not an apple that falls. You have to make it fall.” What do you think he meant by this? How is this concept relevant – or not – in the modern world?

6. Harvath often refers to things his mother said that define his personal philosophy. In CODE OF CONDUCT, he recalls her saying: “You can’t always choose the situation you find yourself in, but you can choose how you react to it.” When has this applied in your life experience? How has your reaction to a situation impacted the outcome?

7. We learn, in CODE OF CONDUCT, that under a State of National Emergency, the U.S. Congress can be bypassed and a wide range of extraordinary powers become centralized with the President, including the ability to seize property and commodities, control the private sector, transportation, and communication. What are some current examples of this sort of dismissal of the system of checks and balances? Is this sort of concentration of powers ever necessary? How might a State of National Emergency be abused?

8. Harvath asks Nicholas whether he has a plan for survival in a major disaster. Pierre Damien is prepared with everything from stored supplies to meal plans and various properties.  Do you have a plan? Where would you go? How have you prepared for the possibility of a large-scale emergency?

9. Despite his own plans to survive, Scot Harvath acknowledges that he could never turn his back on his country when things were at their worst. He realizes much about himself throughout CODE OF CONDUCT, including his need to be, “right in the fight.” How does Scot’s patriotism and sense of duty impact his personal and professional decisions? His relationships?

10. Two significant Latin phrases are exchanged between Harvath and Judge Leascht. Leascht quotes Cicero when he says, “Salus populi suprema lex esto… The good of the people should be the supreme law.” Harvath replies: “Inter arma enim silent leges… In times of violence, the law falls mute.” How do these phrases relate to the plot in CODE OF CONDUCT? 


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