This skillfully crafted story has it all. Non-stop action, intrigue, dry wit and humor, incredible detail, and a nearly invisible line between science fiction and fact that yielded tremendous credibility. While at least one other reviewer compared it to Clancy, it reminded me more of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series except in this case it’s a sociopathic NSA director as opposed to the CIA.
The author broke numerous fiction writing conventions yet this contributed to the book’s credibility, originality and appeal. For one thing, numerous readers of this genre are self-admitted techies and nerds who thrive on the technical side. I know because I’m one of them. I saw an article not long ago which as I recall was written by Stephen King who advised authors to keep their research material invisible in their stories. To the contrary, Dacy plastered his extensive research throughout the story like excerpts from a technical paper or dissertation and I loved it. He even included various illustrations, which further added to the story’s imagery, depth and interest. Whether it was the nuts and bolts of advanced technology, covert ops, or the chapter numbers in binary code, it was apparent he knew what he was talking about. Nonetheless, there were sections where his dry wit practically had me rolling on the floor or his ability to build suspense had me perched on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. While it may be considered incorrect to drop into the omniscient viewpoint from time to time, in this case it worked.
The story is about two genius level adult French siblings, Esquelle and her brother, Bernard, who possess a technology that permits communicating across the time barrier. Bernard’s patent application has not only been denied but he’s been told in no uncertain terms that he cannot release it in any manner at home or abroad based on the Tesla Protocol, the means by which the details of Nikola Tesla’s inventions were secreted away roughly a hundred years prior. Of course neither of them plan to listen and thus the chase begins, though neither Esquelle nor Bernard have any idea what they’re in for.
The plot is complex and loaded with characters but unlike some overpopulated stories I didn’t have any trouble keeping them straight. The players were well fleshed-out and believable. The level of detail is outstanding, right down to the clever basis for the heroine’s name, which I’m not about to tell you but as someone who’s done some database programming myself I must say it was great. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next episode.
My only criticism is if, indeed, this novel had a copy editor, the individual should be fired. If it didn’t, which I suspect, then it needs one who can catch the numerous missing words and other minor goofs. The syntax of the French dialog was often incorrect, but the author blamed that on Google, who was credited with the translations. I had French in high school back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and even after longer than I care to admit I can remember that adjectives follow the noun and the conjugation of verbs is entirely different than English. Thus, word for word translations seldom work.
This fantastic story deserved a good copy editor. These editorial blemishes, which most readers may not even notice (except, perhaps, other techies like me), detracted from what would otherwise be an incredibly awesome story, which, considering the level of detail otherwise, I find rather sad. Providing the reader with clean copy is as essential as maintaining a consistent plot and accurate research.
I suspect that the author was thinking and keyboarding so fast to get the story down that he inadvertently skipped over various prepositions and articles along the way. It didn’t ruin the story by any means, but it was a distraction which precluded my ability to be entirely absorbed in it. In many ways I long for the days when you could sit down with a good book and get thoroughly lost in it, perhaps finding one or maybe two, if any, such mistakes. I find it especially sad when a story as good or better than many that passed through traditional publishing houses lacks that final bit of polish.
Besides that, this was my kind of book. Quite honestly, I loved it. Nonetheless, even while my techy side ate up his research, technical details, quotes, inside jokes and speculative sci-fi excursions, that same part of me cringed at every missing or misspelled word. Precision is just as important in writing as it is in engineering. If you painted a masterpiece, would you toss it in a $3 plastic frame from Walmart? No. And as a potential masterpiece in so many ways, forgive me when I say yet again that this story deserved a good copy editor.