I needed a good read to keep me occupied during last week’s foul weather: blizzards and wind; snow and ice. With nothing but Christmas on television (okay, call me the Grinch), I was too much a coward to brave the roads and make my way to the local Barnes & Noble (or Borders). But it turns out, I didn’t have to. I have an eBook reader (the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS 300). Lucky, lucky me. I didn’t have to brave the ice, the traffic, the Christmas shoppers or grouchy store clerks. I opened my Sony Reader library, ventured into the store and let my fingers do the browsing. Within minutes, I’d found my perfect companion for the storm: Footprints of God, Greg Iles’ 2003 novel about science and power.
There is nothing I like better to read than a good paranoid thriller. Give me a brilliant scientist (or doctor, or lawyer, or…); give him a conscience in a world where no one else seems to possess one, and put him on the run to save the world despite the odds. Robert Ludlum is the expert of that trope, but then again, so is Greg Iles.
Footprints is narrated by its hero David Tennant, a physician and professor of medical ethics on a hush-hush government project called Trinity. Trinity is trying to develop the next generation in supercomputing, going into an area of artificial intelligence that may have dire implications for the world.
When the scientists involved in Trinity all begin to experience neurological symptoms (Tennant suffers narcolepsy), Tennant and his best friend, Nobel-winning physicist Andrew Fielding attempt to stop the project. But when Fielding is found dead of an apparent stroke in his office, Tennant fears for his own life wondering if Fielding met with foul play.
Footprints is a quick and breathless read with the feel of a thriller and the content of a science fiction story. It has theological overtones, which you can take or leave (I left them), as the world sits at the brink of destruction by the novel’s climax. But as an intelligent thrill ride of a novel Footprints makes great reading with which to curl up in front of the fireplace. It’s a book I might have passed up, browsing the aisles of my local brick and mortar bookstore. But, I found it doing a keyword search in the Sony Reader store.
This is the real joy of using an eReader like the Sony Reader: finding hidden gems and receiving them instantaneously. The Sony Reader has truly become my best friend for these snowbound days of winter.