Registry field op Chris Copeland arrives in Hungary on a routine mission: find a sacred spot, lay down a wire grid, and capture a full flask of a god’s energy. But when his arrogant new partner, Shailer, sabotages the wires, things go very, very wrong: the god manifests as a mirror image of Chris himself. Chris quickly destroys the god, and, for the good of the company and his own career, buries the evidence.
Six years later, Shailer is a rising star among the energy industry’s corporate elite, while Chris has taken a break from operations. But when a mysterious serial killer begins stalking Budapest-a psychopath who bears an eerie resemblance to Chris-the operative is forced back into the field.
With the help of Anna Ganz, a brusque, chain-smoking Hungarian detective, Chris tracks the monster across the globe. Only the real danger isn’t a killer on the outside . . . it’s Chris’s treacherous colleagues at the Registry who refuse to acknowledge the terrifying forces they’ve unleashed in the name of profit-forces whose origins lead back to the dawn of man . . . and beyond.
Hey gents! If you remember my last post, I said I’d get this to you Monday, and so here we are! If you missed that last post, scroll down and check out an excerpt. But for now, let’s talk about the book.
Well, the premise – that humans can collect energy from sacred spots and turn it into electricity- is pretty awesome. As humans, we talk of places feeling alive and having an energy of their own. For example, three years ago I visited the Chartres Cathedral in France. It’s notable for being both the place where the first King of France was crowned, and for being a site of pilgrimage within the Catholic Church. Now I’m agnostic, and I wasn’t traveling with any particularly religious people, but those of us who opened ourselves up to the location, those of us who took in the history and studied the statues and the stained glass, we all left feeling electrified. We were energized. There was something intangible in the air. You couldn’t describe it, but you could feel it. And that’s what I imagine our protagonist Chris was capturing in his flask jars.
Now one of the issues you can have with stories like these is that sense of [something scientific] not working that way and just pulling you out of a book because you’re too busy shaking your head. I think Lees did a good job here. There’s a nice balance between telling us enough, so that it feels like he put some thought into all of this, and not saying so much as to ruin it all. It’s dolled out slowly, but it works.
I start with this, because if you can’t buy into the premise you aren’t going to get very far into the book, because you aren’t going to get very far into the book: a god escapes, takes Chris’ face and starts killing things. From there, Chris is more or less blackmailed into trying to hunt it down no thanks to Shailer, the kind of egotistical jerk that normally stands for corporate types in the media. I do wish Lees had gone another route with this character, because I kind of feel like he’s the most “stock” thing here, but still. He serves his purpose well.
What makes this book worth the read, however, is the relationship between Chris and Anna. She’s a cop who get the murder case so it can kill her career when she can’t solve it, as opposed to a cop with friends in higher places. She’s blunt, she’s skeptical, she’s hard, but she’s still open to what Chris is saying, even as she doesn’t really believe until towards the end. She provides a calm and rational head to help aide Chris when he’s otherwise floundering blindly in the dark.
In the end, this book can be seen as a cautionary tale about our foray’s into “new” energy sources, like fraking. They promise cheap and abundant energy, but we’re going about and collecting it without knowing what the costs may be, and only too late do we learn that the costs are higher than we ever intended.
Verdict it: A very strong borrow it