Saturday, June 26, 2010

1053. Blasphemy


Blasphemy is the first book in which Wyman Ford, appears. Wyman Ford is the main character in Douglas Preston's Blasphemy and Impact. He's a Private Investigator, an ex-CIA Agent, a monk, and many other things. He's not really a Jack-of-all-trades, like the guy in Human Target or some other such heroes. He's, however, a man who tries to get the job done.

In this first real job for Wyman, we see him utilizing some of his knowledge of the Navajo language, which is really difficult to learn, getting on the rez (reservation) out in Arizona as a liaison with the tribe on the big project on their land. The US Government built a Giant Super-Collider near Red Mesa to explore the mysteries of the Big Bang. After all, we don't want the Europeans with their Large Hadron Collider to beat us. Wyman, knows one of the scientists at the project, apart from knowing a bit of the Navajo culture so he's embedded to find out why the project has fallen behind. Money has been spent, but there have been no results.

Meanwhile, the Navajo tribal council is having second thoughts. The lobbyists that were hired to represent their interests are trying to manipulate them AND public opinion. Additionally, a local preacher connects with a well known Evangelical Pastor who is aghast at the $40 Billion cost of the Super-Collider (called by the scientists "Isabella"). Wyman's history with a scientist on the project is that of a long ago love affair, when they were both young and in college. Her name is Kate Mercer. All these threads come into contact together with an immense discovery when the collider is first powered to 100%.

What is the discovery the scientists make and it's implications to theoretical physics? Does this discovery have theological implications? Can Wyman bring the truth out into the world or should he hide the truth from the President and his science adviser who recruited him for this mission? Why are the scientists hiding the truth? Why was a man killed to hide the truth?

This is a book worth staying-up all night for. It is the second Douglas Preston book that I have read, but is probably  the first Wyman Ford adventure. It is not as fantastical (in some sense) than "Impact" which I reviewed earlier in this blog -- since I read that one first! But I do think it stands very well on its own. It is an excellent book, because it shows the limits of this particular character in the face of an impossible situation. He's faced with something he knows to NOT be true, yet at the same time, he can not convince others of this fact. His faith is not the faith of others; OR, put another way -- Kate's faith is so strong that he can not change her mind without different evidence otherwise.

All in all, a highly satisfying book and highly recommended! 4 stars out of 5!

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