cover image Nimbus


Alexander Jablokov. William Morrow & Company, $22 (376pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11114-4

The author of A Deeper Sea keeps readers glued to the page while also providing some thought-provoking ideas in a tale of intrigue set in the near future. Brain modification has become as common as nose jobs, not to mention a frequent prerequisite for career advancement. Peter Ambrose (aka Theo Bronkman) performs such operations for a living and has installed blocks in his own head to remove memories of his years with The Group, a specially selected unit used to devastating effect in the Wars of Devolution. When someone starts killing members of The Group, Ambrose scrambles to find out who and why. Is the murderer one of the other Group veterans, or their old leader Linden Straussmann (presumed dead), or did Ambrose/Bronkman commit the crimes himself, then block them out as he did his other memories? The narrative maintains a breakneck pace but allows ample space for interesting comments on the issues raised by brain modification, most notably the question of who or what people become when they remake themselves at such a deep level. The invention seems forced in a few spots, but on the whole Jablokov delivers an engrossing, introspective novel packed with action and plenty of neat futuristic touches. (Oct.)