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The Adjacent by [Priest, Christopher]
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The Adjacent Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 429 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Like some sort of self-assembling jigsaw puzzle, Priest’s new novel starts out as a handful of stories that appear unconnected either by character or by chronology. But, as we follow the stories, we eventually realize that these characters, despite being separated by time, are linked via a Nobel-winning theoretical physicist and his discovery, the Perturbative Adjacent Field. Priest, a master of deception and misdirection (The Separation, 2005), is being especially mysterious here, leaving us to work out even such basic things as whether the book is set in this reality or an alternate version (the photographer’s story seems set in a world in which Britain is an Islamic state, but, on the other hand, the story about a stage magician tasked by the British military to make airplanes appear invisible to ground-based observers seems pretty clearly set during the historical WWII). We frequently get the sense that, like a stage magician, Priest is deliberately focusing our attention on one thing, while he’s doing something else, something subtle, between the lines. While it’s definitely not a book for people who prefer their fiction to be linear, The Adjacent is a wonderful piece of fiction, an intricate puzzle that asks the reader to pay close attention and to read not just the text, but also the subtext and its implications. --David Pitt


"Taking place against a kaleidoscopic backdrop of Earth’s past, present, and future—not to mention dimensions somewhere in between—the novel is a wonderful, stand-alone statement about the resonance of history, memory, and love. But for attentive, longtime fans, there are Easter eggs that reference many of his past novels, including The Prestige, which only adds to the grand intricacy of Priest’s multifaceted vision." - AV Club Best Books of 2014 

"Incredibly detailed and vivid." -  Lit Stack 

"Priest dabbles in a puzzling, intriguing work worthy of the sort of highbrow magic act it endeavors to perform." - Leviathyn

"A great read." -

"When The Adjacent finally explodes into a head-spinning blast of blurred reality, Priest contains the fallout — then he orchestrates it all a stunning denouement, one that readers accustomed to his unforeseen-yet-inevitable twists might not even be prepared for...Priest hides the answers to his metaphysical mysteries just up his sleeve, waiting for the most jaw-dropping time to spring them." - NPR

"Christopher Priest is very talented when it comes to telling stories and “The Adjacent” is no exception." - Imp Mag

"A fascinating writer." -  Big Shiny Robot 

"Interesting fantasy." - City of Films

“Unraveling it all is completely fascinating.” – San Francisco Book Review

"Science and magic, as in many of Priest’s works, are combined and focused together into a strange amalgamation of cold emotion and fiery passion creating a hurricane of a book." - Geek Girl Project

"A gripping novel." - Project Fandom

"Featuring the twists, turns, and puzzles we’ve come to expect from Priest." - Barnes & Noble Book Blog

"A chiller...meant to disturb." - Wall Street Journal

"all visions, illusions, mystery"...."a chiller...meant to disturb" - Wall Street Journal

"Stunning." - Locus Magazine

"Priest knows exactly what he’s doing — and is doing it brilliantly" - Chicago Tribune

"A wonderful piece of fiction, an intricate puzzle that asks the reader to pay 
close attention and to read not just the text, but the subtext and its implications" - Booklist  

"An absorbing and complex yarn of altered realities and twisted timelines, where nothing is quite as it seems ..." The Guardian

"One of the best novels of the year" SFX Magazine

"The Adjacent is puzzling, brilliant, frustrating, page-turning, disturbing and absorbing." WERTZONE

"A beautifully written novel." SCIFINOW

"Intoxicatingly freewheeling." Metro

"Thoroughly engrossing, and throughout Priest's scene-setting is impeccable. His descriptions of the workings of Bomber Command in the WWII section are worthy of Len Deighton. In the futuristic strand, he ... creates a mood of oppressive menace." Starburst Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 1886 KB
  • Print Length: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (April 8, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 8, 2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,729 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Whitehead on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A century or more in the future, Melanie Tarent is killed in a terrorist attack in Turkey by a frightening new weapon. The only trace the weapon leaves behind is a triangular scorch mark on the ground. Her husband, Tibor, returns home to Britain and learns that the same weapon has been deployed on a larger scale in London, leaving a hundred thousand people dead. There appears to be a connection to something in Tibor's past, something he has no memory of.

The events in Tibor's life have ramifications across the years. During WWI a stage magician is sent to the Western Front to help make British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy and has a chance meeting with one of the most famous writers alive. During WWII a young RAF technician meets a female Polish pilot and learns of her desperate desire to return home and be reunited with her missing lover. And in the English countryside of the near future, a scientist creates the first adjacency, and transforms the world.

Reviewing a Christopher Priest novel is like trying to take a photograph of a car speeding past you at 100mph without any warning. You are, at the very best, only going to capture an indistinct and vague image of what the object is. Photography, perspective and points of view play a major role in Priest's latest novel, as do some of his more familiar subjects: stage magic, WWII aircraft and the bizarre world of the Dream Archipelago. The Adjacent is a mix of the familiar and the strange, the real and the unreal, the lucid and the dreamlike. It's the novel as a puzzle, as so many of Priest's books are, except that Priest hasn't necessarily given you all the pieces to the same puzzle.
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Format: Hardcover
The basic plot, obscure though it is, has been covered in detail by other reviewers and won't be repeated here.

I give author Christopher Priest two stars for his creativity in trying to weave a tale concerning a quantum universe where time and place may be parallel or time shifted among real and unreal worlds. His placement of one storyline into the Islamic Republic of Great Britain was clever.

Some other reviewers have described his writing and attention to detail as brilliant, but I found it tedious. While we are treated to detailed descriptions of some aspects of war and airplanes, his characters are poorly fleshed out and seem almost cardboard. I understand the alliteration of names and similarity of occupations to nudge us to understand the connectedness of the parallel characters. The female characters, especially in expressing their sexual needs, are almost utilitarian. Some chapters of the story are overly long without apparent purpose except to fill out the book, as much of the material in them doesn't really add to the storyline. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying, although predictable.

I've been reading science fiction/fantasy for decades and always enjoy original thought, layered plot construction, and character development. I just found The Adjacent to have an interesting premise that was not well developed or written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This interesting book is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. It starts when Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled from Anatolia to Britain after his wife, Melanie, was killed by a strange new weapon. We are sometime in a post-apocolytpic future where Britain has become Muslim and is subject to terrifying storms, apparently the result of climate change. Timor goes on a strange voyage in a lumbering armored vehicle together with other passengers, including Flo, a powerful civil servant with physical needs.

We switch scenes and now find ourselves on the Western Front during World War One. Tommy Trent, a stage magician, is sent on a secret mission to render British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy. The mission is a spectacular flop but he does get the spend a day with HG Wells, the father of time travel, on the train to the front.

We go back to Tibor who has disembarked from his vehicle at a military base. Minutes later, it is obliterated by a mighty flash and vanishes, leaving only a blackened triangle of scorched earth. Flo and the other are dead. But are they?

Next. we learn that a theoretical physicist developed a "quantum weapon which can apparently take matter and make it disappear, sending it to a different, alternative, or adjacent world.

Next we're in World War II where an attractive Polish female flyer spends a day with an English mechanic and tells of her lost love in Poland. Then we go to an imaginary country where another magician makes an appearance. His big act is to make a woman disappear -- but it's just an illusion that goes horribly wrong.

This was a very complex book that in some ways reminded me of "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell. But it lacks the lovely construction of that masterpiece.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Adjacent is my first taste of Priest’s work. I know, I know how could I call myself a serious genre reader and yet never cracked the pages of a Priest novel? I’ve always been aware of him as an author – when I was in my teens I knew that Priest had written two Doctor Who scripts for the 4th Doctor that were never made, and, of course, I’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige – but I’ve never felt compelled to read his work. His novels, nearly a complete collection, sit on my shelves in the garage collecting dust. (Priest is not alone. My garage has become a Sargasso Sea of novels and novelists whose books I own but whose work I’ve never read).

When The Adjacent was announced I decided to rectify that state affairs… and then nearly didn’t when I read the closing paragraph to Niall Alexander’s positive review of the book on Strange Horizons:

"Reading The Adjacent is like taking a grand tour of the larger canon Christopher Priest has established over the course of his forty-year career, so no, newcomers need not apply, but old hands are apt to find it massively satisfying."

Newcomers need not apply…

Now that I’ve finished the novel I can appreciate where Niall is coming from. Even with my limited knowledge of Priest’s oeuvre, there’s a feeling that this book is a continuation of a bar conversation that Priest has begun elsewhere. Not in specific plot details, but in the recycling of elements that Priest has always been fascinated with – magicians, aeroplanes, H.G Wells, and archipelagos that exist somewhere to the left of our reality.

I’m sure if you’re aware of all the bits and pieces that reflect and echo previous novels you’ll have more fun with The Adjacent. That’s certainly the impression I get from Niall’s review.
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