Most first-time novels can be seen as obviously that, a first novel - and it is difficult for the author to hide that fact. Not so in the case of Paco Ahlgren’s debut book, Discipline – Ahlgren writes with the confidence of an author who has been published for many years. He is unafraid to introduce to the reader many topics that are not part of most people’s everyday discussion…to say the least. It is not often that somebody can combine high finance, metaphysics, personal demons, chess, politics and psychology and make it digestible, but Ahlgren does that (and more), and does it with seemingly remarkable ease. The characters are well-constructed, but without the glut of back-story found so often in debut novels, as the author is struggling to make sure you get the minutiae. The reader does get a good look back at the life story of the protagonist, Douglas Cole, but that is integral to the story line. Ahlgren trusts you to engage in the story, learning about the characters as you go, thereby freeing up the pages for more action and intrigue, of which there is plenty. Told primarily in the first person from Douglas Cole’s point of view, Discipline takes the reader on a wild ride across the metaphysical map, between continents and through cities as Cole struggles to cope with his own personal demons while, at the same time, making decisions that could impact everyone’s economic future. The book gives its readers the opportunity to ask themselves some insightful questions, as well as to ponder some interesting “what-if”s in regards to the way our world is run.