Sunday, 22 June 2008

Final Theory by Mark Alpert

Simon & Schuster

EINSTEIN’S colleagues, now ancient, are being killed off one by one, found dead under suspicious circumstances in their baths.
The reason? The mathematical maestro’s mythic Unified Field Theory – a theory of everything long rumoured to have been expressed by the genius.
But Einstein – in this thriller, anyway – suppressed his Einheitliche Feldtheorie because he feared its world-destroying power.
The implications of his theory are such that it could be used for power that would end world energy shortages and wipe out the need for oil and coal.
Unfortunately, it also makes it possible for any freelance Osama (not to mention any bullying government) to squish cities and countries with the push of a button.
Alpert doesn’t get into any difficult philosophical questions like “why should they, if there’s free power out there”, but instead gets into a galloping yarn full of fun and violence.
There are moments of hilarity too – the vicious Russian torturer who’s chasing the old lads is shocked, I tell you, shocked, when he sees the waste of taxpayers’ money in inept security around an FBI centre.
Alpert’s hero is a science journalist like the author, who teams up with a gorgeous black scientist and Einstein’s autistic great-grandson to flee and then fight the bad guys and save the world.
Off they go, helped by conveniently credulous yokels from a rattlesnake-handling church, and pursued by a granny from the FBI and the Russian killer.
Tremendous fun.
It comes this near to being a new Da Vinci Code, but the ending loses pace a bit. But Alpert is definitely a writer to watch, and this is the perfect book for taking your mind off the real threats to the world.

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