Publication date 29th November 2013
From the dust cover: “CERN’s Hadron Collider is the world’s most powerful machine; its sole purpose is to prove the existence of the mysterious God Particles – the essential building blocks of the universe. But after a series of global catastrophes, suspicion arises as to whether they are occurring naturally or are somehow connected to the Collider’s experiments.
After the sudden death of the project’s director general, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tom Halligan, is headhunted by CERN’s governing council to continue the search for the elusive particles.
He is soon embroiled in a titanic struggle against sinister forces that are intent on creating a chain of events, the outcome of which will determine the fate of civilization.
The battle to save the planet from annihilation is being fought by the most unlikely of heroes.”
My Ebook review: it was the basic premise of this ebook that interested me. Essentially it takes its leaping off point from the unmistakable truth that with great scientific advances come great unknowns and unexpected or perhaps ill-considered consequences. Even the most noble of intentions can potentially, when used to probe beyond the safe zone of our current understanding, create tools of almost unimaginable devastation. So, in a sense, it is not such a leap of faith to think that there might be self-appointed guardians of sanity working in the shadows to try and temper the more inappropriate flights of fantasy that the ‘boffins’ embark upon. From this launchpad, we have an intriguing conspiracy thriller with good guys and bad guys and the poor unfortunate hero thrown ignorantly into the middle.
As a thriller this ebook works well, generates tension and generally moves along at a good pace with just the right amount of action and tension. Our hero Tom seems to be a mixture of many things and is delightfully more energetic and interesting than I would anticipate his real life counterpart to be. That probably says a lot more about my personal opinion of top academics, in that I can see them being extremely intelligent and dedicated but running around in a breathless race against time, not so much. I am thinking more Ricky Gervais than Tom Cruise I suppose.
As a scientific conspiracy it also works pretty well. There are some good historical perspectives and scene setting that lift the book and give a nice feel to the experience. As with any book of this nature there are aspects that go into the areas of fantastic speculation that will irritate some people and yet for others will be an integral part of the tension building. There was one surfing vignette that, whilst nicely written, seemed to stick out from the rest of the story and slowed the plot for a few pages, it caught me so off guard that I thought I had accidently switched files on my Kindle.
As a part of a larger debate, about the possible implications of dabbling with the basic building blocks of nature and the potential devastating implications if an admittedly extremely low probability event would occur, this work can bring something. Like the plethora of natural disaster and man-made disaster action movies, The God Particle is great entertainment with a serious theme if you want it.
In the end though we should not forget the irony that CERN was also somehow the birthplace of the internet which allows us to spread this message.
Did I enjoy it?: Yes, a good thriller, some excellent scenes and thought provoking.