The Twelve: A Novel of Ancient Wisdom

William Gladstone, Author . Perseus/Vanguard $19.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-59315-556-8

Gladstone's meandering debut, the latest thriller tied to the mystical date of December 12, 2012, when Mayan legend predicts the world's end, charts the life of Max Doff, starting with his conception in 1949 in Tarrytown, N.Y. After Max “dies” briefly at the age 15, he has a vision of 12 people. On returning to consciousness, he begins a decades-long quest to find them. His path takes him to Yale, where his radical philosophical ideas lead to his forced departure from campus. A formulation like “ 'A is, and is not, equal to A' as the ultimate equation in explaining how to penetrate the impenetrable intellectual domain of 'understanding understanding' ” is symptomatic of Max's difficulty in getting his message, whatever it actually is, across. Max then begins globe-trotting as part of the production team for a documentary on ancient astronauts. Serendipitous encounters with “the twelve” will strike many readers as more contrived than magical. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/20/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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