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When Jack Mitchell watched streams of water pouring down a window pane after another fight with his wife, he glimpsed the infinite.
At last he grasps the elusive chain of thought which will ultimately lead to his solution of the scientific disparity between the theories of Relativity and Quantum. However, amidst the triumph of creating the radical new Superforce Theory, the young scientist's wife has her own appointment with eternity.
Her suicide the day after Superforce's birth begins a reckless journey for Jack. The technological implications of Superforce are immense and, as first his theory and the his life are taken over by a multinational corporation, Jack begins to unravel. With his life spinning dangerously out of control, his corporate minders, who are grooming him for a Nobel prize and a return on their investment, send him home to New Zealand to cool off.
But a rival theory emerges and in the tense months leading up to the Nobel announcement, old demons re-emerge... and someone who knows him very well begins sending anonymous letters that stir painful memories... with disastrous consequences.
The hype on the cover had me expecting some serious brain-bending science; a unified theory of everything, and a rival theory as well... but alas, these actually seemed to be minor plot elements. This is a human story... the story of a brilliant man, driven by the seed of Superforce that has been lurking in his head for years, only to blossom at a time when his life most needs him to drop the science and focus on the people.
The depths to which Jack falls - the parties, the drugs, the women and the drink - these are things many people trying to bury or ignore heart-deep grief will do... throw themselves into their work and hope, pray, pretend, that all the painful memories will fade if they throw enough at them.
Overall, though this was nothing at all like the story I was hoping for, it is still a good read, and those who fancy drama will probably love it. It's great to see a good story written by, not only a Kiwi, but a lawyer to boot! It speaks to the heart of anyone who has felt the pain of losing a loved one, whether it was because of death, or just bad lifestyle choices.
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