This contemporary thriller follows in the footsteps of “The DaVinci Code” but in this case the mystery and intrigue surround the works of Isaac Newton, particularly those that go beyond the scientific prowess with which most of us are most familiar. His interests also included alchemy, religion, and various sacred relics, which allegedly possessed mystical powers.
As a physicist myself, Newton is one of my favorite people, further enhanced by the fact we were both born on Christmas Day, albeit 305 years apart. Well, okay, that’s not entirely accurate since the calendars changed during that time, placing his birthday on January 4. That’s relevant to me, too, since I’m not only a physicist but also a professional astrologer, which Newton was as well, though of course the history books tend to leave out that little detail. Perhaps the author will include that particular angle in a future volume, which could introduce some interesting prophetic angles. There’s plenty of fodder to explore between science, religion and astrology, which I plan to pursue at some point myself. Thus, I was excited to find this book that promised to delve into areas in which I have a strong personal interest; I was not disappointed.
Of course anything that might wield considerable power is going to attract bad guys who want it for all the wrong reasons; think Indiana Jones and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. In this case, however, rather than Hitler and the Nazis, it’s a single, powerful entity known only as the Drakon, who sends a variety of henchmen to obtain any and all of Newton’s writings and artifacts, which places anyone in possession of such items in mortal danger.
The main character, Vincent Blake, is an experienced detective whose specialty is tracking down stolen art and other antiquities, so he’s quickly pulled into the case as those who get close to anything Newtonian are dropping like flies. Many of Newton’s books and notebooks have already been acquired by The Vatican, which have been studied in detail by Brother Nathan Vittori, Chief Librarian at the Vatican Observatory, as well as his friend, Dr. Carla Sabatini, a former research student. Brother Nathan discovers a fascinating notebook of Newton’s in the archives that contains a considerable amount of new information and the plot thickens.
This story is richly detailed which brings it to life through various historical tidbits, well-developed characters and an intriguing plot that includes a plethora of interesting individuals including a mysterious homeless woman named Mary. In some respects it moves too fast since it’s so detailed that some can easily be missed as you plunge forward reading to find out who’ll survive and how it will end. Thus, it’s one that I would probably read again at some point to savor those elements I blew past initially. The ending was reasonably satisfying, yet left enough unanswered questions to carry over into future volumes.
The writing style is strong and engaging, my only criticism related to awkward viewpoint transitions. Nicely edited otherwise, I’m surprised that no one suggested section breaks to cue the reader when the point of view shifted, often abruptly and in the middle of a scene which was enough of a distraction to pull you out of the story action until you got oriented again. Nonetheless, it was a great read that I enjoyed tremendously and I definitely look forward to any sequels.
You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.