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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars action-packed thriller
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...
Published on June 3, 2008 by Harriet Klausner

versus
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real mixed bag...
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),...
Published on July 26, 2008 by Jerry Hatchett


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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real mixed bag..., July 26, 2008
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
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. I find this way too often with authors who obviously have zero understanding of things of the real world, whether the topic is cars, guns, computers, etc. It's frustrating, and so easily avoidable.

The more troubling issue with the book is the ultra-poor character development, both on the micro and macro levels. On the micro level, there's just little there to make one bond with the individual characters. They're stereotypical and wooden. On the macro level, the evil government is after the poor innocent little people while an evil Master Killer stalks them, as well. Yawn.

Finally, although it contributed absolutely nothing to the story, the author had to take time to inject his liberal politics. The evil vice-president with a crooked smile has to run the country for the "boob" from Texas. Again, yawn. Maybe the author found this cathartic, but it's an incredibly stupid thing to do in a book that has nothing to do with politics. By including elements like this, he added nothing to the story, but did manage to insult any conservative who happened to have bought and read his book. Nothing quite so smart as alienating half your potential market for no reason other than your own need to "vent."

All in all, it was a first book that had vast potential but in the end fell way short of the mark. Perhaps the author will read some of these reviews and take them to heart. Or perhaps not.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars action-packed thriller, June 3, 2008
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!, June 2, 2008
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Theory, Little Creativity, October 26, 2009
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
I picked up this book at a sale because the cover design with a 3D graphics of a running man was very interesting to me. This book does have a good title and a good teaser on the cover to entice an implusive purchase. I was never quite interested in science but no matter how I have tried to avoid the subject all my life, Einstein and his brilliant discovery of the law of relativity are just too big a legend that even a science dummy like me can't be completely oblivious about it.

The title itself is quite powerful in selling the book, afterall, I was very curious about what Einstein's final thoery was all about when the backcover mentioned that the story was based on real physics... Anyway, I started reading the book since June 2009, and I only finnished it now. So whether this book is as fast paced and astonishing as the cover describes, you tell me....

May be my lack of background and interest in science makes me unable to appreciate this novel. To me, the is just another lame story with a big title that took advantage of Einstein's fame to make an easy profit. The story is nothing innovating despite the fact that it borrowed Einstein's unfinnished Unified Field Theory hoping to build a clever plot. I said "hoping" because the plot of the story is anything but clever. The story is a typical running, hiding and chasing ritual that too many novels, TV shows and movies had already employed in their thrillers. What a bore. This story is about some professor who holds the key to uncover the secrets and applications of Estien's Unified Field Theory that will bring major destruction to the world, thus becoming target of the government and the villains who want to get a hold of this powerful science. The chasing and running really starts from the very beginning of the story.... and it keeps on forever... and this is why I never was able to read it for too long without walking away....It has been painful for me cause I have this habit of never abandoning a book. Everytime when I returned to continue the story, the characters were still running and were still being chased....

As far as the "real physics" go, I really don't understand how the author wants the Unfield Field Theory to work in terms of destorying the world. The author tried to elaborate his imagination of such an application with diagrams and tossing in lots of physics terms like, the protons, neutrons, accelerator....etc. etc... I still couldn't picture how it would work. To me, it would be just another WMD that isn't too new or innovative, I just pictured it as a nuclear explosion that happens out of thin air without any bomb dropping. I just wish the weapon and application could be more exciting and shocking to me...

The book does have a twist or two but these twists aren't exciting enough to compensate for the same uninspiring copycat plots that have been used by so many other movies and TV shows in the thriller or adventure genre. So all these months, I have been reading about a guy running away because he got access to an extremely powerful and dangerous weapon, and during the course, there were lots of gunfires, kicking, hitting, fighting, falling, bleeding, etc., etc.. In the end everybody will be okay and the world will stay fine. As unimpressed as I am, I have to say the book makes me want to read more science books on "real physics", cause I'm sure the real physics will be so much more exciting and interesting than this lame novel. This is one story I don't think anyone should waste time reading, cause all of us have just seen too many of the same stories, just this time, the guy is having access to Einstein's final theory instead of a treasure buried underneath Egypt....
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept - juvenile plot, July 6, 2008
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick to Physics, Mr. Alpert, December 26, 2009
By 
R. Thompson (Lenexa, KS United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
I gave this book a second star only because cosmology and particle physics are among the great interests of my life, and no question about the author's knowledge here. But "juvenile" doesn't begin to describe his plot line. It reminds me of a short story I wrote as a six year old, with no substance to it at all. What bothered me most though, is that aside from the science, everything in this book is a cheap caricature. To begin with, his depiction of Mingo County, West Virginia is insulting. My roots are there, my family owns mountain property there, and I spend time there. Mr. Alpert, we do wear shoes, watch TV, shop in modern towns and go to modern schools. Even the Hatfields and McCoys are civilized now--I've met some, and one is buried next to my Uncle in a very nice, modern cemetery. Alpert's depiction of the FBI as an organization of brutal Bozos is hackneyed beyond belief. His depiction of the military as incompetent, amoral fools is the same. His thinly-veiled depiction of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld is pure left-wing meanness. And his depiction of Christians doesn't do justice even to the strangest of cults.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, could have done more with it, August 3, 2008
By 
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
Alpert knows his physics, and he always makes it interesting. Unfortunately he could have done a lot more with his basic premise about Einstein's lost "unified field" theory, it's almost a shame to have wasted such a good idea on this ultimately slight and forgettable thriller. The book is also marred by its puerile politics. It's OK to portray Cheney and Rumsfeld as evil, but presenting them as cartoon stick figures undermines the plot's already thin credibility. Having the FBI villain casually murder a muckraking New York Times journalist and then drive away listening to Rush Limbaugh might have made a funny Saturday Night Live sketch, but here it comes off as just plain dumb. The descriptions of the military are simply inept - the Black Hawk helicopters that ferry around Delta carry multi-barrel miniguns, not M240 machine guns, and anyway the M240 doesn't fire an "8 mm round". Obviously Alpert didn't care enough about the subject to get those details right. The description of hardware and procedures at the Fermilab particle accelerator, on the other hand, has the ring of authenticity. But Alpert's real problem is that he doesn't like people very much (a problem for a novelist). Nearly every character in the book who is not an academic turns out to be an evil moron of one sort or another. I'm torn between hoping he returns to science journalism and wishing that he would try his hand at a physics thriller one more time, but take things a little more seriously.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bust a G.U.T on this..., October 4, 2009
By 
Patrick Thompson (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
Okay, while the premise is quite enticing, the realization leaves a lot to be desired. Einstein's final theorem: a Grand Unified Theorem connecting Relativity with Quantum Mechanics was a highly interesting idea to base the book on. It is also quite true that the physics in the story is very good and robust (by accepted standards). It is clear the author had background in physics- much as the main protagonist in the story. Indeed it's not hard to see the author imagining himself as this character or basing the character on himself. That's the good.

As for the bad: where to begin. The shear coincidental hunt/meetings between the protagonist, our esrtwhile physicist, and a former russian spetnaz soldier whose wife and children were apparently killed in the most ridiculously trite manner imaginable, is laughable. I mean if you don't roll your eyes and say 'yeah, right' about 6 times then you probably aren't reading this book. I mean its soooooo contrived. Since this hunt/chase underlies the whole story, its credibility and believability is clearly very undermined by the poor manner in which it was elaborated. And other incidents in the novel read like something out of every b-grade movie based on a hunt/chase. Throw in a female physicist living in Eistein's house in Princeton who happened to meet our protagonist years ago and throws in her lot with him on the spur of the moment, several of einstein's close assoicates, one of which has a prostitute daughter with an autistic son and a backwoods preacher, all of which are trite, superficial and unnmotivated characters and you have a cast of caricatures running around in a highly, highly contrived plot.

So do yourself a favor and skip this unless you want something superficial and easy, brain-dead and unrewarding all the more for it, for the most part. The shear contradiction in quality between the elaboration of the physics and the story is truly amazing. This story wouldn't even make a c-grade movie. For example Johnny Mneumonic has a better plot than this book. So this represented a real lost opportunity on the part of the author- given the quality of the idea at the core of the novel. I guess he was trying too hard for the Dan Brown 'feel' and made something far more vapid than Brown at his worst.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably stupid, August 19, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
To be honest, I didn't read the whole book. I only made it about a quarter of the way through (to the part where David and Monique set out for Pittsburg) before I was overwhelmed by the sheer buffoonery of it.

Bear in mind that I am a big fan of F. Paul Wilson, Preston & Child, and James Rollins, so it's not like I'm unable to suspend disbelief. But the author has to exercise a bit of craft to make the unbelievable at least seem believable while you're reading. Alpert has no such craft.

The protagonists are cardboard cutouts, and the villains (just about everybody else) are cartoons. Early on, an FBI agent is described as "an Oklahoma farm boy who'd picked up his conversational skills in the Marine Corps." A later description: "...Simon recognized the men from their gait: ex-Marines and ex-Rangers assigned to headquarters duty, most likely with the FBI." Would it have over-taxed Mr. Alpert to at least go to the FBI website and take a look at the qualifications required to become an FBI agent? (And if you think the FBI agents look foolish, just wait and see how the Secretary of Defence is depicted!)

The ridiculous elements that ruin many thrillers are all here, writ large. The lone killer, who can casually saunter into the FBI's secure compound, disable their communications and kill all the agents, the protagonists who can out-maneuver professionals and the entirety of America's law enforcement and solve cryptic puzzles by improbable feats of logic. Early in the book, the hero manages to escape from FBI custody (and the killer) because the FBI agents conveniently left him alone in the interrogation room, uncuffed, with a Super Soaker water rifle, a flask of alcohol, and a cigarette lighter. No, I'm not kidding, and it wasn't even at this point that I gave up; it had to get a lot dumber.

The novel is also tainted by the unmistakable whiff of contempt this author seems to hold for anybody not of his peer group. This includes the police, military, and ordinary citizens (all of whom seem to have enormous beer bellies).

The only redeeming factor in this mess is that the author knows his physics and can explain it well. But if you're interested in this, you'd be better off picking up a copy of Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe."

Don't waste your money on this drivel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Try, November 19, 2008
By 
This review is from: Final Theory: A Novel (Hardcover)
The idea for Final Theory was good, but its execution lacking. The story is prosaic. Plot transitions are present which are unexplained and/or unbelievable. What science there is---though interesting---is minuscule. The plot doesn't deliver, and the overwrought "advanced praise" on the dust jacket serves only to deepen the disappointment. The hologram on the cover was a nice touch.
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Final Theory: A Novel
Final Theory: A Novel by Mark Alpert (Hardcover - June 3, 2008)
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