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Improbableby Adam Fawer
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant new talent bursts on to the thriller scene with a dazzling work of spellbinding fiction, a riveting story of chance, fate, and numbers, and one man's strange journey past the boundaries of the possible into the chilling realm of the...Improbable.
After nightfall, David Caine inhabits a world of risk, obsession, rich rewards, and sudden, destructive downfalls. A compulsive gambler possessing a brilliant mathematical mind — and an uncanny ability to calculate odds in the blink of an eye — he prowls the underground poker clubs of Manhattan, winning more than he loses. But Caine is a man prone to crippling epileptic incidents — and one night he makes a costly miscalculation, suffering the most intense seizure he has ever experienced. And his life spins madly out of control.
Desperate to regain his equilibrium, he agrees to test an experimental drug with unnerving side effects. Suddenly he is having visions of the past, present, and future; either peering through a window into an alternate reality or teetering on the precipice of a psychotic breakdown. Chemistry and destiny have colluded to grant David Caine the astonishing ability to foresee the consequences of his actions and the probability of various outcomes, both good and terrible.
But with his "gift" comes grave danger, for he is not the only one who knows his secret. Frightening powers operating from the shadows now want him for their own, forcing Caine to seek help from a most improbable ally — a beautiful rogue CIA agent skilled in the death arts — on a desperate race for survival with his sanity hanging by the slenderest of threads.
A riveting amalgam of explosive action, ingenious twists and turns, dynamic characters, breathtaking writing, and brilliant extrapolation, Adam Fawer's extraordinary debut, Improbable, is the novel of the year.
"As Sherlock Holmes once said, 'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' Or as fourth-year Columbia statistics Ph.D. student David Caine tells his class in this science-driven, action-packed thriller, '[W]hen the chances of being wrong are minuscule, you have probably discovered the truth.' Caine, a compulsive gambler, has just seen his sure-thing poker hand go bad, leaving him deep in debt to a Russian gangster. He can't skip town because he's started an experimental treatment for his temporal lobe epilepsy — a treatment that allows him to tap into the collective unconscious, a parallel universe known as the everywhen, where innumerable futures exist for him to choose from. Needless to say, this makes Caine a valuable commodity, and he's soon on the run from a number of government agencies, none having his best interests at heart. His schizophrenic twin brother, Jasper, aids him in his flight, as does tough female rogue CIA agent Nava Vaner. It's difficult to keep the competing bad guys straight, and discussions of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Einstein's theory of relativity, Schrdinger's cat, Laplace's demon and probability theory tend to slow things down. But the success of The Rule of Four and The Da Vinci Code have shown that plenty of readers enjoy their science, as long as there's a compelling plot encircling it, which there is here. Agent, Ann Rittenberg. (On sale Jan. 18)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A heartless melange of just about every hack bestseller subgenre you could imagine....To his credit, Fawer writes pretty well, even if he does put in too much information about statistics. Cold and mechanical: fiction by computer." Kirkus Reviews
"Although this brisk read is full of seat-of-the-pants and keep-you-guessing action, it occasionally gets bogged down in dry scientific explanations of probability theory and quantum mechanics....
David Caine, a compulsive gambler plagued by crippling epileptic seizures, gets more than he bargained for while testing an experimental medicine. Unsure whether he's perceiving an alternate reality or suffering a psychotic breakdown, Caine discovers that powerful forces want him for their own. A highly original debut novel by an aspiring new talent.
About the Author
Adam Fawer holds undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. During his corporate career, Fawer worked for a variety of companies including Sony Music, J.P. Morgan, and most recently, About.com, where he was the chief operating officer. Improbable, his first novel, has already been translated into five languages. Fawer lives in New York with his partner, Meredith, and far too many pet fish.
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