7th May 2020. 3.5 stars.
Harry Barnett becomes the reluctant hero in this intellectual thriller about mathematics and higher dimensions. He discovers he has a son he knew nothing about. But David’s in a coma after an insulin overdose. Did he try to take his own life or is something more sinister afoot? Friends and colleagues, who worked at the same multimillion dollar institute have also died, leaving a whiff of foul play in the air.
Harry, who works in a service station and likes a drink or two, transforms from waster to hero. He joins a small underground movement determined to bring down the institute and expose it’s dark secrets. Within a short space of time, he’s racing around Europe and the USA, his life in constant danger, to retrieve a tape recording his son was forced to abandon and hide at the institute’s headquarters
It’s a well-written story with good characterisation, an intriguing concept and a plot with more than a few twists and double takes along the way. While entertaining, I found the story and Harry’s transformation somewhat fanciful.
Of course, nothing was what it seemed, but by then the suspense and tension seemed to have ebbed from the story, leaving me somewhat indifferent to the twist. This was due in part to the mathematical detail and content, which I struggled to grasp. Though well-researched and handled with confidence, I didn’t really understand it.
I like Robert Goddard’s writing and stories about ordinary people being drawn into danger. Harry Barnett is a well-drawn, engaging character, but this story didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
Harry Barnett is shocked to learn that he has a son – David Venning, a brilliant mathematician, now languishing in hospital in a diabetic coma. And this is only the first and smallest of the mysteries he is about to encounter.
It is not known whether David’s condition is due to an accident or a suicide attempt. But Harry discovers that his mathematical notebooks are missing from the hotel room where he was found. And two other scientists employed by the same American forecasting institute have died in suspicious circumstances.
Driven on by the slim hope of saving the son he never knew he had, Harry goes in search of the truth and finds himself entangled in several different kinds of conspiracy – none of which he ought to stand the slightest chance of defeating.