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by Mark Alpert
Touchstone, June 2008
356 pages
ISBN: 1416572872

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

"Hans Walther Kleinman, one of the great theoretical physicists of our time, was drowning in the bathtub. A stranger with long, sinewy arms had pinned Hans's shoulders to the porcelain bottom."

The police come in time to save Professor Kleinman, who asks that Dr. David Swift, an author and professor of the history of science, once one of Kleinman's students, be brought to see him. Swift, who is just returning his seven-year-old son to his ex-wife's apartment, runs off to St. Luke's, forgetting he is holding Joshua's super soaker. Kleinman keeps repeating Einheilich Feldtheorie (Unified Field Theory) and when David gets there, whispers a series of numbers to David. Swift is arrested by the FBI as soon as he leaves the hospital.

Apparently, until recently, there were four men left in the world who had been students of Einstein's. The holy grail of physics is the Unified Field Theory which will change the world as we know it, but to the end, Einstein insisted that he never completed the calculations to prove the theory. Someone knows differently and sent Simon to torture the information out of the old men. Three are now dead, because Kleinman dies shortly after Swift leaves the hospital.

Swift is taken to a secret FBI interrogation location and is threatened with torture but there is an explosion and David escapes by turning his son's super soaker into a flame thrower. He manages to keep one step ahead of Simon, and the FBI in a thrilling chase from Manhattan to Princeton to Illinois and a giant supercollider.

The only problem I had with this book is that Einstein was perhaps the last pure theoretician in the world. He didn't believe that the atomic bomb was possible even though his equations proved it would work. If he had really solved the equations for the Unified Field Theory, he would have published them, not hidden them away. Otherwise, the book is a great summer read with good guys and bad guys and great chases. It would make a blockbuster movie.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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