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Final Theory: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Mark Alpert
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.49
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

A Spellbinding Thriller about a Science History
Professor on the Run for his Life and an Unpublished Einstein
Theory that Could Change the World

Debut novelist Mark Alpert brings one of the most explosive books of 2008, seamlessly weaving current issues of science, history, and politics with white-knuckle chases.

David Swift, a professor at Columbia University, is called to the hospital to comfort his mentor, a physicist who's been brutally tortured. Before dying, the old man wheezes "Einheitliche Feldtheorie." The Theory of Everything. The Destroyer of Worlds. Could this be Einstein's proposed Unified Theory--a set of equations that combines the physics of galaxies with the laws of atoms? Einstein never succeeded in discovering it. Or did he? Within hours of hearing his mentor's last words, David is running for his life. The FBI and a ruthless mercenary are vying to get their hands on the long-hidden theory. Teaming up with his old girlfriend, a brilliant Princeton scientist, David frantically works out Einstein's final theory to reveal the staggering scope of its consequences.

With publishers around the world snapping up rights in twenty-two countries, the book has already become a global phenomenon, and the dynamic characters and gripping plot will keep readers compulsively turning the pages until the very end.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alpert's exciting debut takes the premise that Albert Einstein succeeded in discovering a unified field theory, but hid the result, fearing it could lead to weapons far more powerful than the atom bomb. In the present day, several contenders—the U.S. government, a savage mercenary bent on revenge, various scientists—all scramble to uncover the theory. Theoretical physicist Hans Kleinman, once one of Einstein's assistants, is tortured by an intruder who demands he divulge the theory. Columbia University professor David Swift is at Kleinman's bedside when the old man makes a few cryptic statements, imparts a string of numbers and then dies. Soon David is off and running for his life, as all the theory seekers give chase. David stays one step ahead with the help of the beautiful Monique Reynolds, another physicist. Alpert, a Scientific American columnist, sticks to proper thriller structure while imparting interesting and accessible science. The relentless action, including one giant twist and plenty of smaller ones, builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Although David Swift wanted to become a scientist like his beloved professor, Dr. Hans Kleinman, he couldn’t manage the math. Instead, he wrote a best-selling book about Albert Einstein. Now Swift is shocked to learn that his elderly mentor has been brutally tortured. With his dying breaths, Kleinman tells Swift that, contrary to common knowledge, Einstein did complete his unified field theory, but the consequences were so catastrophic, he kept it secret. Now the feds and the sadistic Chechnyan who attacked Kleinman will do anything to secure Einstein’s secret formula. Accordingly, Swift must live up to his name, outrun his vicious assailants, and find Einstein’s hidden notebooks. With the help of cool-under-pressure Monique Reynolds, a resourceful African American physicist, Swift leads a wildly choreographed chase. Alpert, an editor for Scientific American, laces his high-IQ doomsday thriller with clearly explicated and hauntingly beautiful scientific theories and delivers readers to such intriguing locations as Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and the Fermi National Acceleration Laboratory. An ingenious scientist turned evil mastermind, a snake handler, a stripper, a video-game-obsessed autistic teen, and sly digs at a certain presidential administration add up to a strikingly sweet-natured yet satisfyingly barbed high-tech, high-stakes adventure. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 518 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 3, 2008)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011UEELY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,850 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars action-packed thriller June 3, 2008
Rumors fly that Albert Einstein formulated the unified field theory, but feared its release would lead to even more lethal weapons than the atom bomb; if true he took it to his grave. However some people think otherwise and he did discover the unified field theory and that a few still living know it.

Thus diverse players from the Feds to other countries to unscrupulous scientists and even a ruthless Russian mercenary seek the remaining direct link survivor. An intruder batters elderly theoretical physicist Hans Kleinman trying to make Einstein's assistant talk. Instead the torture sends Hans to the hospital near death. When Columbia University Professor David Swift visits his mentor, Hans babbles some enigmatic commentary in his native tongue about "Einheitliche Feldtheorie" with a numerical sequencing of equations that seem to combine the vastness of space with the nano of atoms just before he dies. However David becomes the new target fleeing for his life as he trusts no one not even the FBI except his former girlfriend Princeton physicist Monique Reynolds.

This is an action-packed thriller that takes off from the opening sequence and never slows down as David becomes the target of nasty folks who want to control the next weapon of pandemic destruction. The story line is fast-paced yet provides enough scientific theory to support Einstein's efforts to develop the Unified Field Theory equations. Fans will relish FINAL THEORY as this one never takes a breather while using as the plot's prime concept the reversal of the universally accepted belief Einstein never achieved the equations to prove his theory.

Harriet Klausner
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real mixed bag... July 26, 2008
The idea of a hidden Einstein Theory of Everything is a wonderful premise. And there are definitely things to like about this book. The writing is more than adequate from a style perspective; not great, but very good. Alpert does a little too much spoon feeding (telling the reader things that are blatantly obvious, as if the reader isn't smart enough to figure it out), but not enough to make the writing itself unpleasant. He also did an admirable job of working in twists that are so important to a story like this. The pacing was good, and the science was very nicely incorporated with a minimum of info-dumping. Then there are the problems...

It frustrates me to no end when an author won't do even the tiniest bit of research in order to get the details right on issues they know nothing about. For example, a character engages the safety on their revolver. Puh-leeze. Revolvers don't have safeties. (The only revolver that has a safety is an old western style single-action, definitely not the thing you tuck into the small of your back as did the character.) Things go from bad to worse when he approaches the issue of computers. A character "smashes" a computer on the floor and, voila, we have parts everywhere. Among these parts, he is able to spot the hard drive because it looks like a turntable with glass platters. He of course proceeds to smash the platters into tiny shards. Good grief. It takes five seconds on Google to see what a hard drive looks like. Or hey, walk into any computer store and ask them to let you hold one. Then get back to me on whether you saw platters and were able to "smash" them. Every time an author does something like this, it yanks you out of the story and it takes time to reestablish the immersion.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept - juvenile plot July 6, 2008
Einstein spent a significant part of his life on a unified theory, where classical physics and quantum mechanics could be coupled into one series of equations. Final Theory's plot illustrates that Einstein was successful, realized the political implications of bringing this theory to the forfront of science, gives the equations, in parts, to three friends before he dies, and tells them to not release it to noone.

The concept is exciting and the novel begins with fast paced action, indicating the novel will surely entertain. Although some facets of the story line did illicit some imagination and fun reading, the majority of the action scenes were juvenile at best. (A history professor simultaneously takes on both the FBI and terrorists who are attempting to find the equations at any cost. I don't think so.) The book isn't bad, just farfetched. 2.5 stars
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! June 2, 2008
The author combines a background in astrophysics and a career in journalism to lend remarkable realism and phenomenal narrative to this unique thriller. A rich menu of interesting and plausible characters traverse many intriguing locations, described with superb clarity, and all interwoven in a plot as clever, surprising and entertaining as any you will experience in this genre. The science backdrop is presented in a manner as satisfying to the layman as the PhD. For the reader less enamored with the thriller genre, the book is a beautiful work of prose, packed with literary gems. For the thriller buff, you might as well succumb to Mr. Alpert now rather than later. Any first novel this extraordinary is going to be followed by dozens more--and a mass readership. Absolutely five stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Simple language, good connectivity and proven science is my appetite and if it is yours too, nothing could beat this book
Published 28 days ago by venkatesh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
These Theory books were well written, and I found them entertaining.
Published 3 months ago by Carol
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
OK read.
Published 3 months ago by SkookinFL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 7 months ago by Gus Saucedo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A fast moving action adventure dotted with tidbits of scientific nuggets.
Published 10 months ago by Ken Sponagle
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I've ever read
Alpert's novel might be mildly attractive to people who like trashy thrillers, but anyone who likes literature should stay far, far away from it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by larryniven
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I love this and also read the omega theory and both are top notch scifi with much real science woven in
Published 13 months ago by Philip P. Asselyn
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the unabridged audio book
Most fiction is truly drivel and an abridgement is a blessing. For those that wish to criticize this authors plots and writing, well Hawthorne or Dickens it isn't but I've heard a... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Junktiquity
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun science thriller
I enjoyed the characters. I like the science themes. But I dislike the brutal violence. It's hard to find good action adventures these days without violence. Read more
Published on February 26, 2013 by David K. Allen
1.0 out of 5 stars Weep for the Trees
I felt I had to read this to the end just for closure, but the book is so full of grating little errors that half the suspense is wondering when you'll run headlong into the next... Read more
Published on July 29, 2012 by Gary Fisher
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More About the Author

MARK ALPERT is a contributing editor at Scientific American and an internationally bestselling author of science thrillers. His novels for adults -- "Final Theory," "The Omega Theory," "Extinction," and "The Furies" -- are action-packed page-turners that show the frightening potential of near-future technologies. His first Young Adult novel, "The Six" (to be published in July 2015), is a science thriller about six dying teenagers who give up their failing bodies to become U.S. Army robots.

A lifelong science geek, Mark attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and then majored in astrophysics at Princeton University. Working with his advisor, the Princeton theorist J. Richard Gott III, Mark wrote his undergraduate thesis on the application of the theory of relativity to Flatland, a model universe with only two spatial dimensions (length and width, but no depth). The resulting paper, "General Relativity in a (2 + 1)-Dimensional Spacetime," was published in the Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation in 1984 and has been cited in more than 100 physics papers since then. (Scientists who are searching for the Theory of Everything are particularly interested in Flatland because the mathematics gets simpler when one spatial dimension is removed from the equations.)

While at Princeton, Mark also studied creative writing with poets Michael Ryan and James Richardson. After graduation he made the fateful (and perhaps foolhardy) decision to pursue poetry rather than physics. So he entered the M.F.A. writing program at Columbia University, where he took courses taught by Stanley Kunitz, Octavio Paz, Derek Walcott, Susan Sontag and Elizabeth Hardwick. Two years later, when he realized that poetry would never pay the bills, Mark became a journalist. He started as a reporter for the Claremont (N.H.) Eagle Times, writing stories about school-board meetings and photographing traffic accidents with his beloved Nikon FG. Then he moved on to the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he learned the history of the civil-rights movement by covering George Wallace's last year as governor.

In 1987 he returned to New York as a reporter for Fortune Magazine and over the next five years he wrote about the computer industry and emerging technologies. During the 1990s Mark worked freelance, contributing articles to Popular Mechanics and writing copy for the talking heads on CNN's Moneyline show. Throughout this period he was also writing novels and short stories, but the only piece of fiction he sold was a short story called "My Life with Joanne Christiansen," which was published in Playboy in 1991.

In 1998 Mark joined the board of editors at Scientific American. With his love for science reawakened, he soon came up with another idea for a novel. While working on a special issue about Albert Einstein, he was intrigued by the story of Einstein's long search for a unified field theory that would explain all the forces of Nature. Mark started writing a thriller about high-energy physics, incorporating many of the real ideas and technologies described in the pages of Scientific American: driverless cars, surveillance robots, virtual-reality combat and so on. The result was "Final Theory," which was published by the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster in 2008. Foreign rights to the novel were sold in 23 countries, and the film rights were optioned by Radar Pictures. Touchstone also published the sequel, "The Omega Theory" (2011), which was about religious fanatics who try to trigger Doomsday by altering the quantum algorithm of the universe.

Mark switched from physics to neuroscience in 2013 when his third novel "Extinction" was published by the Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin's Press. In this thriller, the technology of brain-computer interfaces leads to the emergence of a new species of deadly man-machine hybrids who share a super-intelligent collective consciousness. Foreign translations of "Extinction" were published in Greece and Taiwan. In 2014 Thomas Dunne published Mark's fourth thriller, "The Furies," which told the story of an ancient clan who share a genetic mutation so shocking that they were persecuted as witches for centuries and forced to flee to the wilderness of America four hundred years ago. And in July 2015 Sourcebooks Fire will publish Mark's first Young Adult novel, "The Six," a thriller about teens trying to retain their humanity while trapped inside weaponized robots.

Mark lives in Manhattan with his wife and two non-robotic teenagers. He's a proud member of Scientific American's softball team, the Big Bangers.

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Final Theory--Einstein's last undiscovered theory
I couldn't get past the fourth chapter. Not recommended at all.
Oct 13, 2009 by Rothery |  See all 2 posts
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