From Publishers Weekly
Near the start of this solid thriller from bestseller Preston, the U.S. president's science adviser asks former CIA operative Wyman Ford, last seen in 2008's Blasphemy
, to look into the sudden appearance of radioactive gemstones, in particular to identify the precise location of their origin in Cambodia. Meanwhile, college dropout and frustrated astronomer Abbey Straw, who believes she witnessed a meteor's fall, embarks on a search of small islands near her Maine home to locate pieces of the meteorite to sell on eBay. In California, soon-to-be murdered professor Jason Freeman sends Mark Corso, a Mars mission technician at the National Propulsion Facility, a classified hard drive with evidence of gamma rays emanating from the red planet. The three story lines end up neatly intersecting, though the final payoff doesn't do justice to the engaging setup. Preston refrains from inserting the scientific minilectures of which the late Michael Crichton was so fond. (Jan.)
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Wyman Ford, the former CIA agent turned freelance investigator introduced in Blasphemy (2008), returns. This time the U.S. government sends him on a seemingly straightforward mission to locate a secret Cambodian mine, the source of some unusual gemstones. But Ford’s assignment quickly gets a lot more complicated, and soon he’s immersed in a mystery involving conspiracy, murder, and a strange object buried in a moon of Mars, an object that might be about to unleash something unimaginable upon Earth. Blasphemy felt almost claustrophobic at times (much of its action took place on a single set), but here the author opens up the stage, with plot threads unspooling in various countries and involving various supporting characters, who seem, at first, to have no connection to one another. Where Blasphemy tread on some controversial ground (the nature-of-God question), this book is a more traditional thriller, substituting adventure for philosophical exploration. Is it a better book or a worse one? Different readers may answer the question in different ways, but one thing’s for sure: once Preston kicks the story into high gear, they won’t put the book down until it’s finished. --David Pitt