Bill DeSmedt should be on the bestseller lists with Tom Clancy and Dan Brown. DeSmedt's ambitious and exciting debut novel, Singularity
, mixes a post-Cold-War conspiracy with cutting-edge quantum physics and a century-old mystery to create a terrifying techno-thriller.
A secret US government agency, CROM, fights terrorism by apprehending or terminating post-Soviet scientists before they sell the technology of mass destruction to terrorists. A rookie CROM agent, Marianna Bonaventure, and a brilliant consultant, Jonathan Knox, find themselves on an undercover mission to locate a missing Russian physicist. Instead, they discover a secret far scarier than terrorists with nuclear weapons.
The famous "meteor" that devastated Siberia's Tunguska wasteland in 1908 was no meteor. It was a microscopic black hole that entered the earth's crust--and never exited. Trapped, it may eventually devour the earth. But a small, clandestine group has developed secret technology to capture the black hole. If the conspirators succeed, the world will be enslaved by a dictatorship made omnipotent by the black hole's quantum effects. If the conspirators fail, they will accelerate the black hole's destructiveness--and guarantee the earth's immediate annihilation. Bonaventure and Knox rush to stop the conspirators--but they may already be too late. --Cynthia Ward
From Publishers Weekly
DeSmedt's debut SF thriller, a brisk Michael Crichton clone, vividly depicts the Tunguska event that leveled a big patch of Siberia in 1908, then shifts to the near-future, where warrior woman Marianna Bonaventure is working for CROM (Critical Resources Oversight Mandate), the U.S. Department of Energy's branch for dealing with loose WMD talent. Meanwhile, in Siberia, scientist Jack Adler discovers that Tunguska was actually hit by a microscopic black hole, not a meteorite. Marianna and an intuitive analyst, Jonathan Knox, are assigned to infiltrate the gigantic yacht Rusalka
, owned by the Russian billionaire Arkady Grishin, who is on the trail of something odd. It turns out that Grishin is not who he seems and his motives for finding the Tunguska object are a great deal more sinister than anyone had supposed. The book bounces along, from well-developed scenes to lesser ones and back again, with a good deal of deft if not particularly original characterization. The sexual chemistry between Marianna and Jonathan adds spice. Exotic hardware, lifestyles of the rich and notorious, double- and triple-crosses and a slightly rushed and facile conclusion all make a respectable if not outstanding first effort.
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