A research team based based in Switzerland has discoveredÂ a way to disconnectÂ the mind from the body and project it to other places and times, even into the future. They call it an “ascent”, and it allowsÂ access to secret information hidden away in vaults, as well as knowledge of future events. Clandestine elements of the US government have gotten their hands on this research, and are working to subvert it for their own purposes. Meanwhile, a graduate student named Trent Major is seemingly visited by his future self in vivid dreams. The future self gives him information allowing him to perform research breakthroughs.
Mr. Locke has written a tightly plotted thriller, in style reminding me more than a little of Michael Crichton. It does unfortunately leaveÂ the reader in the dark about the nature of the ascent for what seems a frustratingly long time. Once revealed, the ascent process, which is central to the plot, is always frustratingly close to pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. The parameters of the process are never clearly defined and it is difficult to establish what is or is not possible in terms of plot.
Many characters are introduced at the start, but I found it difficultÂ to keep track of them until about halfway through the book. Certainly there is some confusion as to which characters are actually the protagonists. Some of these characters are secretiveÂ in their profession and this trait seems to spill over into their descriptions. Others are cookie-cutter caricatures of their professional personas. I had a hard time feeling empathyÂ for any of the characters, with the possible exception of Shane and Trent. Character development and description is ratherÂ forced. And how many times do we need to be reminded that Charlie Hazard is a combat veteran and security specialist?
A final nitpick is that objects are frequently prefixed with “the” on the first description. For example, “the trio of electric carts” suddenly appears but it has never been discussed before.
While it has imperfections, and was somewhat confusing at the start, the storyÂ certainly sped up in the second half, even into page-turner territory.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.