cover image Chain of Events

Chain of Events

Fredrik T. Olsson, trans. from the Swedish by Dominic Hinde. Little, Brown, $26 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-33500-3

Olsson’s debut, a world-in-peril thriller, gets high marks for developing an original concept and building suspense, but he needs to have a keener instinct for when readers have had enough of a good thing. A group of elite scientists and mathematicians have been holed up in a remote European castle for more than 50 years. Led by a British military strategist known only as Connors, they have been trying to crack a complex code discovered in human DNA that appears to prophesy disaster for Earth—unrelenting plague, followed by worldwide conflagration. The time is getting close, and the scientists, stymied for decades in their attempt to redirect the code, have resorted to kidnapping other experts, including Swedish cryptologist William Sandberg, in a last-ditch try to save humanity. The second half of the story rambles along without direction, with countless foot chases through the castle, too many sectional cliffhangers, and confusing scientific detail. Agent: Jonas Axelsson, Partners in Stories (Sweden). [em](Nov.) [/em]