Ever watch a movie or read a book so bad that you finish it just to see if it gets worse? I just finished doing that in reading "The Einsten Papers." The characters are cardboard cut-outs. A singular "super agent" who protects the world. He's a government employee - who apparently lives well beyond his means, much like Aldrich Ames, with collections of motorcycles, boats and other possessions which normally wouldn't be accumulated by an ordinary civil servant on the government payroll. (Tom Clancy and others at least provide an explanation for their character's wealth. There is none here.) Dirgo seems to have a thing for food. I've never seen so many diversions to record what the characters ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, none of which propel the plot forward. The plot is simple and, unfortunately, predictable. Even when attempting to place his characters in grave, even mortal, danger, Dirgo simply lacks the capability of causing the reader to worry. You know from the first paragraph who the good and bad guys are and what will be their ultimate ends. In short, there is no suspense, there is no thrill to be found in "The Einstein Papers." This is certainly not a "techno-thriller." The little bits of science and technology that appear are thrown in almost willy-nilly. This isn't like reading Dale Brown, say, where an aircraft becomes almost a living and breathing entity. This is more like hearing a know-it-all tossing off factoids about the airliner you're both on. No depth. I read it from beginning to end, but only because I was interested in seeing just how bad it could get. The ending is a whimper. Overall, I was left with the impression that Mr. Dirgo will never again appear on my reading list.
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About the reviewer
Jerry Saperstein (Jerry_Saperstein)
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader. Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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Einsteins Unified Field Theory is the MacGuffin in this competent debut by Clive Cussler collaborator Dirgo (Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed). The premise is that Einstein actually came up with the theory in August 1945, but hid his notes and formulae on his boat Windforce after Hiroshima. Now, nearly 40 years after Einsteins death and the loss of his boat at sea, a belligerent China plans to use a weapon based on the UFT in a surprise attack on Taiwan. To implement the attack, the Chinese kidnap Choi, a top-notch physicist from America. But when hes rescued from prison by John Taft of the National Intelligence Agency, the Chinese switch their focus to acquiring the Einstein papers, and the chase is on. In the second of two set pieces (Taft and Chois suspenseful escape from China is the first), Taft and his partner Larry Martinez spend the mid-part of the novel tracking a Chinese courier from Boston to Washington. The novels complicated final third brings together those on both sides engaged in research, diplomacy and skullduggery. Overall, the writing is breezy and clear, the action is constant and the weapon developed from Einsteins theory is credible and fascinating, though Dirgos knowledge of subatomic physics seems hazy at best. Despite some glaringly cute touches (Tafts NIA number is 7; there are several in-joke references to Cussler and Pitt) and a hero whose chief character trait seems to be the ability to get up after being knocked down, knocked out or shot, ...