A retired cryptographer (male) and linguist (female) are kidnapped by a mysterious organization and taken to a remote castle where they are tasked with saving humanity. This sci-fi/medical thriller aspires to be something akin to The Andromeda Strain or The Da Vinci Code, perhaps both. Unfortunately, it falls short on both counts. As a cryptographer I found the whole code thing to be ludicrously portrayed and perhaps that spoiled the whole thing for me. I’d heard it said that you shouldn’t read novels about your own line of work because it will always be unrealistic and disappointing. Maybe. But I’ve also heard that a writer should write about what he knows, and this author obviously knows nothing about code-breaking or DNA, so I’m placing the blame on him, not me.
More than that, though, the author had an extremely irritating habit of bringing the reader up to the brink of some revelation and then leaving the scene and moving on to something else. I’m sure he thought that would heighten suspense. It didn’t, at least not for me. Then, when he finally got around to the big reveal, it turned out to be nothing. In short, it was poorly written formulaic stuff. The author is Swedish and despite his obvious mastery of English, the prose sounds a tad stilted to a native English speaker.
I wouldn’t call the book bad. It provided reading fodder for a few days (although I did have some trouble forcing myself to read it at length). It was just disappointing. The premise had potential.