Synopses & Reviews
From the legendary bestselling author comes his first novel in a decade a rollicking Washington tale about a media firestorm swirling around a vast Hole in Texas
and one obscure scientist who gets swept up in the vortex.
Guy Carpenter has a prestigious job at NASA, a devoted wife and new baby, and aside from a troublemaking cat a settled, quiet life. But things take an unexpected turn when this regular guy finds himself mixed up in an international scandal of enormous proportions.
Years ago, Guy worked on the Superconducting Super Collider, a giant government project dedicated to detecting a tiny, elusive particle called the Higgs boson. Wrangling in Congress shut the project down before it could succeed, but now the Chinese claim to have found the boson. It is a discovery that sends the nation into a panic. How did the Chinese surpass American science? What about the horrific military implications of a Boson Bomb? Is it time to start casting Hollywood's first boson-based blockbuster? An expert is needed to assess the new threat to national security.
Guy is propelled into the center of the media blitz, his old love with a Chinese female physicist resurfaces, a new romance with a beautiful Congresswoman beckons, and the breakup of his happy marriage threatens. In the meantime, Congress holds urgent hearings, Hollywood comes courting, the CIA is investigating, and an unctuous reporter dogs his every step.
Once again, Herman Wouk, the man the New York Times has called "a modern Charles Dickens," exercises his deep insight and considerable comic powers to give us a witty and keen satire about Washington, the media, and science, and what happens when these three great forces of American culture clash.
"Still working more than 50 years after he won the Pulitzer for The Caine Mutiny, and more than 30 years after The Winds of War, Wouk, now nearly 90, has license to write what he pleases: in this case, a light, sprightly story about lost love, high-energy physics and the machinations of Washington. At 60, physicist Guy Carpenter is happily married and the father of two, including a new baby. In the late 1980s and early '90s, he worked on the Superconducting Super Collider, a gigantic federally funded project in Texas aimed at finding the elusive Higgs bosun subatomic particle. Congress pulled the plug on the SSC in 1993 in real life as well as in the novel professionally stranding Carpenter and leaving the Higgs bosun undiscovered. Ten years later, Carpenter has gotten his life back in order, but when a group of Chinese scientists publish a paper claiming to have discovered the Higgs bosun, his quiet existence is upended. Not only was Carpenter a key staff member on the SSC, he has sustained a secret romance since graduate school with Wen Mei Li, the chief scientist on the Chinese team. This confluence of circumstances puts Carpenter on the spot with his wife, the media, Congress and possibly the CIA. It also introduces him to a former movie star congresswoman, who's charmed by his intellect and sympathetic to his plight. The plot is busy but secondary to Carpenter's banter and romantic escapades. Occasionally corny but also playful, thoughtful and passionate, this first novel by Wouk in 10 years will charm fans with its companionable warmth and wry humor. Agent, Betty Sarah Wouk at BSW Literary Agency. (Apr. 14)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[W]hatever the Sam Hill [Wouk] may have had in mind with such a premise, he spins it into a crackling yarn and writes with an enduring vigor that whippersnappers might envy." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"At 88, Wouk writes with the brightness of a 45-year-old kid hell-bent on fun about subatomic physics....Ingenious. Absolutely ingenious: Wouk's first fiction in ten years." Kirkus Reviews
"[A]n entertaining, eminently readable novel that sheds light on what happens when politicians vote to scrap projects in basic science....Wouk's satire deftly targets the media as well as the politicians." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Delightful entertainment by a seasoned novelist whose put all his wisdom into a book that possesses the comic energy of someone half his age." All Things Considered (NPR)
Guy Carpenter is a physicist with a quiet, settled life: a prestigious job at NASA, a devoted wife and new baby, and a troublemaking cat. But he is about to get mixed up in an international scandal of enormous proportions.
The legendary bestselling author of War and Remembrance, The Winds of War, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Caine Mutiny returns with his first work of fiction in 10 years, a smart and funny look at the often unbelievable, sometimes absurd interplay of science, media, and politics.
From the legendary bestselling author comes a rollicking Washington novel about a media firestorm swirling around a vast hole in Texas and one obscure NASA scientist who gets swept up in the vortex and becomes a national figure overnight.
With this rollicking novel-hailed equally for its satiric bite, its lightly borne scientific savvy, and its tender compassion for foible-prone humanity-one of America's preeminent storytellers returns to fiction. Guy Carpenter is a regular guy, a family man, an obscure NASA scientist, when he is jolted out of his quiet life and summoned to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. Through a turn of events as unlikely as it is inevitable, Guy finds himself compromised by scandal and romance, hounded by Hollywood, and agonizingly alone at the white-hot center of a firestorm ignited as three potent forces of American culture--politics, big science, and the media--spectacularly collide.
About the Author
Herman Wouk's bestselling novels include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Caine Mutiny; Marjorie Morningstar; Youngblood Hawke; The Winds of War; War and Remembrance; Inside, Outside; The Hope; and The Glory.