Monday, 6 June 2016

Book Review: THE KNOW PRESERVATION by Ed Kurst

The Kindle edition
It has been a while since I read a sci-fi novel, so it was with some uncertainty that I volunteered to read and review THE KNOW PRESERVATION.

Quantum physics, nuclear reactors, particle accelerators, the past, the present and the future all rolled into one heck of a ride.
The start of the story will leave you confused and wondering what is going to happen with all the characters and their agendas. I quickly realised that to keep track of what is going on, and it was a good idea to read as much of the beginning as possible. There are many characters in this story and keeping track of them had been a challenge. Often authors assign names, and therefore identities, to unimportant characters, and it creates havoc for the reader in trying to keep them straight.
In The Know Preservation, there are nineteen characters of which seventeen play a major role in the story. The other two are not featured so prominently, but they are important to the backstory to understand the history. It wasn't always clear who was who since the author sometimes used only their first names or last names during introductory chapters. It took a chapter or three to start connecting the names to figure out which characters were in the scene or dialogue.
I liked John Preston, the main character. He is an engineer and was portrayed in ways that could only be described as typical of engineers. His character always acted within the constraints set upon him by the author. His physical limitations resulting from his health issues were offset against his intellect - his biggest asset being employed in the plot. He wasn't a soldier, and neither was his character ever changed into one even in the combat scenes.
I also liked Stacey Hanson. Her determination and will to win were portrayed in every action and decision in the story. You understand her motivation and drive soon, and you have to take your hat off to her in the way she manages to do what is required.
You also get to meet the great Albert Einstein. His character flows seamlessly into the plot and his contribution to it is quite believable. Some of his travels with John delivered amusing scenes.
John and Stacey's journeys into the past and future are fraught with problems as they start to unravel secrets that have been kept from them. They learn about the real reasons two particle accelerators were built on opposite sides of the globe. They uncover the role-players, the double agents, the undercover agents, the horrors of the past, and the decisions that were in the distant past made to set generations of people on a path towards averting a catastrophe.
As soon as the action starts, the story becomes easier to read and yet the tension proportionally ramps up to throat tightening levels. What are they going to do? Will they take the risks to change the outcome? Will the risks be worth the price they could pay?
The action in the story is handled with aplomb and an exceptional eye for detail. The resulting one-on-one combat scenes are graphic, and you will feel the pain, the suspense and in some case the helplessness the characters are struggling with as they try to fulfill their mission.
Some of the other characters will gain your sympathy, yet others will make you cringe in horror at the things they do or have done. The good guys are not perfect people, which makes their characters so much more likable.
As an engineer myself, I love the humour and have a huge appreciation for the author's handling of the science in the story. It might not be easy for every reader to get the science (fiction) in the story, but I suggest that you battle on as the story will unfold in more palatable scenes.
The writing was well executed, and the story moves forward at a good pace. Despite the complications of the scientific terminology in the story, it was a terrific read and a thrill ride from the first page.
The first chapters are short, and it will help the reader to read them in one sitting to get a feel for the story and the multiple plot lines. My notes were detailed for the first twenty chapters to try and keep track, but after that the storyline flowed, and the different plot lines started to flow together or made more sense as the story unfolded.
The ending was written to leave a well-defined start for the next book, and yet not so open-ended that you feel dissatisfied with the result. It is the first book in a trilogy, and I look forward to the next book. I can safely say that Ed Kurst has at least one fan.

My rating of The Know Preservation by Ed Kurst: