“You’re asking me to sabotage one of the greatest experiments in scientific history?” asks The Eidolon’s narrator, theoretical physicist Robert Strong, before he makes his key Faustian pact with Victor Amos, the leader of the highly secretive Observation Research Board – self-appointed global ‘guardians’ of cutting-edge scientific research, with a mission to protect humanity from the worst excesses of its own curiosity.
Newly-unemployed, newly single – oh, and also apparently seeing dead people – Strong is asked to help sabotage the latest experiments about to start at CERN using the Large Hadron Collider, which ORB are convinced will destroy the world. It's a belief which, strangely enough, echoes a vision of impending destruction that Strong himself had while trying to 'find himself' in Tibet.
This is an intriguing, opportune ‘day after tomorrow’ thriller, that gets away with its James Bondian secret bases and conspiracies by scrupulously grounding itself not just in its characters’ lives and relationships but also in modern particle physics. On occasion, debut novelist Libby McGugan’s first-person narrative can be a tad guilty of info-dumping, but on the whole this is an absolutely fascinating, thought-provoking and thoroughly engrossing read which, while in no hurry to shock, holds your attention right to the end. [Paul F. Cockburn]