Was it possible that this absence of war--marvelous though it was and so forth: that went without saying--was it possible that it had actually trivialized people? Because everything was so bloody trivial now, wasn't it? This was the Trivial Age. Politics was trivial. What people worried about was trivial--mortgages and pensions and the danger of passive smoking. Jesus!--he shot a look at O'Brian--is this what we've been reduced to, worrying about passive smoking, when our parents and our grandparents had to worry about being shot or bombed?
    And then he began to feel guilty, because what was he implying here? That he wanted a war? Or a cold war, come to that? But it was true, he thought: He did miss the Cold War. He was glad it was over, of course, in a way--glad the right side had won and all that--but at least while it was on, people like him had known where they stood, could point to something and say: Well, we may not know what we do believe in, but we don't believe in that.


- Excerpt from Archangel, by Robert Harris