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The world's biggest supercollider, locked in an Arizona mountain, was built to reveal the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself.

The Torus is the most expensive machine ever created by humankind, run by the world’s most powerful supercomputer. It is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate William North Hazelius. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus ...

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The world's biggest supercollider, locked in an Arizona mountain, was built to reveal the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself.

The Torus is the most expensive machine ever created by humankind, run by the world’s most powerful supercomputer. It is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate William North Hazelius. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of Heaven?

Twelve scientists under the leadership of Hazelius are sent to the remote mountain to turn it on, and what they discover must be hidden from the world at all costs. Wyman Ford, ex-monk and CIA operative, is tapped to wrest their secret, a secret that will either destroy the world…or save it.

The countdown begins…

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  • Douglas Preston
    Douglas Preston  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This baby roars... the pages simply fly."—Publishers Weekly

"Highly recommended... Preston joins Michael Crichton as a master of suspenseful novels that tackle controversial issues in the realm of science."—Library Journal

"An unusually alarming and thoughtful thriller... Clever and terrifying."—Kirkus


“A superb read! Blasphemy is both thoughtful and flat-out entertainment—a page-turning thriller about science and religion in which good and evil collide at the speed of light. You'll be up all night with this book.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of The Sleeping Doll

"Science versus religion—the ultimate crunch.  Douglas Preston has written The Novel of the Year, an extraordinary, unique, fascinating, wildly imaginative mix of thriller, satire, Sci Fi, and every other genre in the book.  Blasphemy—you're going to love it."—Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassin

"Terrifyingly realistic.  An electrifying page turner.  Preston at his very best."—Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of Revenge of Innocents

"With Blasphemy, Douglas Preston has finally gone too far. One way or another, I'm afraid he may burn for this book."—Lincoln Child, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Storm


Blasphemy takes the latest theories of physics and pits them against the ancient religious beliefs that they now threaten, in an explosive, hell-bent and finally deeply moving book that I doubt I will ever forget. It literally made me pace as I contemplated the ideas that crackle through these pages, and it gave me pause as I realized that the physics here is so close to reality that the face of God that appears in this book may soon be, in real life, before us all.”—Whitley Strieber, New York Times bestselling author of 2012: The War For Souls


“In Blasphemy, Preston rips the toga off God, and what remains is simply the answer to the most profound question of human existence...why are we here?  A stunningly great read.”—W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, USA Today bestselling authors of People of the Nightland and the novels of North America's Forgotten Past

Blasphemy is one hell of a good book. I couldn't stop reading, and at the end I had to force myself to slow down!”—David Hagberg, winner of three American Mystery Awards and USA Today bestselling author of Dance With the Dragon

“Preston has taken a fascinating concept and implemented it brilliantly. It's one of those books you think and talk about after you've finished it. I loved the characters. Even the sleazy ones were well-done.  Science meets religion with a side order of politics. The mixture is explosive!”—Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Dangerous Ground

“Can science discover God? Blasphemy is a stunningly ambitious novel that lives up to its goals. The theme is nothing less than the question: Is science the new religion?”—Barbara D’Amato, Edgar Award Winner and author of Death of a Thousand Cuts

Patrick Anderson
Blasphemy will be considered precisely that by many readers on the Christian right, and even a secular humanist would have to say its bad guys are cartoonish. But the scenes of howling Christians eagerly killing fellow Americans who don't share their views are chilling, and history reminds us that the more feverish advocates of most religions have been spilling innocent blood for centuries. The novel is entirely readable, and its satire of religious extremism, if heavy-handed, often strikes home.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Two wise decisions move this thriller up from the ranks of the ordinary: Scott Sowers's reading and a bonus interview with Preston by the editor-in-chief of Scientific American. Sowers, who has read Preston's work in the past with impressive results, adds a needed degree of calm and charm to this tangled tale of a giant superconducting supercollider particle accelerator called Isabella, located inside a 500-acre mesa on a Navajo reservation. Sowers gives all the characters instant credibility, from the physicist who created Isabella, to the ex-CIA man sent by the president to see what's taking so long, and especially a powerful televangelist who sees the project as blasphemy. In the interview, Preston admits he got the idea from the late L. Ron Hubbard. Sowers and Preston make this confrontation between religion and science surprisingly smart and new. Simultaneous release with the Forge hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 22). (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

When a talented reader narrates a spellbinding story by a consistently powerful author, great things happen in the audio world. Scott Sowers nails the suspense of Preston's latest novel; listeners will be grabbed from the very first paragraph of this "ripped-from-the-headlines" story of science and religion clashing, with tragic results. In the Navajo lands of Arizona, a brilliant scientist has built the world's most powerful machine, nicknamed "Isabella." Its purpose is to bring science to the exact moment of the "big bang," the theory that explains the creation of the universe. Former CIA operative Wyman Ford is sent to the Isabella project to find out why it is far behind in producing results. What he discovers is much more than the government had bargained for: when Isabella is fully operational, a voice emanates from the machine that the scientists believe is God. It has answers to unanswerable questions and knows the innermost thoughts of many of the experts who created Isabella. While they are grappling with this astonishing discovery, a sleazy Washington lawyer and a powerful televangelist conspire to bring down what they consider to be the godless purpose of the Isabella project. Preston never fails to deliver a first-rate thriller, and with Sowers providing the outstanding narrative, listeners are in for a non-stop-and thought-provoking-audio experience. Highly recommended for all libraries. [Preston is the New York Times best-selling author of Tyrannosaur Canyon; Blasphemy is also available as downloadable audio from]
—Joseph L. Carlson

School Library Journal

Like Isabella, a giant "superconducting supercollider particle accelerator," the thought-provoking new thriller from bestseller Preston (Tyrannosaur Canyon) takes a while to power up, but once it does, this baby roars. The ostensible goal of Isabella's creator, physicist Gregory North Hazelius, is to discover new forms of energy, but what he really wants is to talk to God. The project, located inside Red Mesa ("a five-hundred-square-mile tableland on the Navajo Indian Reservation"), is behind schedule, so presidential science adviser Stanton Lockwood hires ex-CIA man Wyman Ford to go to Red Mesa and find out what's causing the holdup. Meanwhile, a Navajo medicine man, a televangelist and a pastor who runs a failed mission on the reservation are gearing up to pull the plug on Isabella before she destroys the earth. Science has often tangled with religion in this genre, but Preston puts his own philosophical spin on the usual proceedings, and when he gets his irate villagers with their burning torches headed for the castle, the pages simply fly. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765349668
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Series: Wyman Ford Series, #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 578,274
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Preston

Douglas Preston is the co-author with Lincoln Child of the celebrated Pendergast series of novels, including such best-selling titles as Fever Dream, The Book of the Dead, The Wheel of Darkness, and Relic, which became a number one box office hit movie. His solo novels include the New York Times bestsellers Impact, The Codex, and Tyrannosaur Canyon. His most recent nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a film starring George Clooney. Preston is an expert long-distance horseman, a member of the elite Long Riders Guild, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has travelled to remote parts of the world as an archaeological correspondent for The New Yorker. He also worked as an editor and writer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. Preston is the Co-president of International Thriller Writers, and serves on the Governing Council of the Authors Guild.


Douglas Preston was born in 1956 in Cambridge, MA, was raised in nearby Wellesley (where, by his own admission, he and his brothers were the scourge of the neighborhood!), and graduated from Pomona College in California with a degree in English literature.

Preston's first job was as a writer for the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- an eight year stint that led to the publication of his first book, Dinosaurs in the Attic and introduced him to his future writing partner, Lincoln Child, then working as an editor at St. Martin's Press. The two men bonded, as they worked closely together on the book. As the project neared completion, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the museum, an excursion that proved fateful. As Preston tells it, " the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to [me] and said: 'This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!'" Their first collaborative effort, Relic, would not be published until 1995, by which time Preston had picked up stakes and moved to Santa Fe to pursue a full-time writing career.

In addition to writing novels (The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon) and nonfiction books on the American Southwest (Cities of Gold, Ribbons of Time), Preston has collaborated with Lincoln Child on several post-Relic thrillers. While not strictly a series, the books share characters and events, and the stories all take place in the same universe. The authors refer to this phenomenon as "The Preston-Child Pangea."

Preston divides his time between New Mexico and Maine, while Child lives in New Jersey -- a situation that necessitates a lot of long-distance communication. But their partnership (facilitated by phone, fax, and email) is remarkably productive and thoroughly egalitarian: They shape their plots through a series of discussions; Child sends an outline of a set of chapters; Preston writes the first draft of those chapters, which is subsequently rewritten by Child; and in this way the novel is edited back and forth until both authors are happy. They attribute the relatively seamless surface of their books to the fact that "[a]ll four hands have found their way into practically every sentence, at one time or another."

In between, Preston remains busy. He is a regular contributor to magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Natural History, Smithsonian, Harper's, and Travel & Leisure, and he continues with varied solo literary projects. Which is not to say his partnership with Lincoln Child is over. Fans of the bestselling Preston-Child thrillers can be assured there are bigger and better adventures to come.

Good To Know

Douglas Preston counts among his ancestors the poet Emily Dickinson, the newspaperman Horace Greeley, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough.

His brother is Richard Preston, the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Cobra Event, The Wild Trees, and other novels and nonfiction narratives.

Preston is an expert horseman and a member of the Long Riders Guild.

He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow, has traveled extensively around the world, and contributes archaeological articles to many magazines.

In our interview, Preston shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.

"My first job was washing dishes in the basement of a nursing home for $2.10 an hour, and I learned as much about the value of hard work there as I ever did later."

"I need to write in a small room -- the smaller the better. I can't write in a big room where someone might sneak up behind my back."

"My hobbies are mountain biking, horseback riding and packing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, camping, cooking, and skiing."

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Ken Dolby stood before his workstation, his smooth, polished fingers caressing the controls of Isabella. He waited, savoring the moment, and then he unlocked a cage on the panel and pulled down a small red bar.

There was no hum, no sound, nothing to indicate that the most expensive scientific instrument on earth had been turned on. Except that, two hundred miles away, the lights of Las Vegas dimmed ever so slightly.

As Isabella warmed up, Dolby began to feel the fine vibration of her through the floor. He thought of the machine as a woman, and in his more imaginative moments he had even imagined what she looked like—tall and slender, with a muscular back, black as the desert night, beaded with sweat. Isabella. He had shared these feelings with no one—no point in attracting ridicule. To the rest of the scientists on the project, Isabella was an “it,” a dead machine built for a specific purpose. But Dolby had always felt a deep affection for the machines he created—from when he was ten years old and constructed his first radio from a kit. Fred. That was the radio’s name. And when he thought of Fred, he saw a fat carroty-haired white man. The first computer he had built was Betty—who looked in his head like a brisk and efficient secretary. He couldn’t explain why his machines took on the personalities they did—it just happened.

And now this, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator . . . Isabella.

“How’s it look?” asked Hazelius, the team leader, coming over and placing an affectionate hand on his shoulder.

“Purring like a cat,” said Dolby.

“Good.” Hazelius straightened up and spoke to the team. “Gather round, I have an announcement to make.”

Silence fell as the team members straightened up from their workstations and waited. Hazelius strode across the small room and positioned himself in front of the biggest of the plasma screens. Small, slight, as sleek and restless as a caged mink, he paced in front of the screen for a moment before turning to them with a brilliant smile. It never ceased to amaze Dolby what a charismatic presence the man had.

“My dear friends,” he began, scanning the group with turquoise eyes. “It’s 1492. We’re at the bow of the Santa Maria, gazing at the sea horizon, moments before the coastline of the New World comes into view. Today is the day we sail over that unknown horizon and land upon the shores of our very own New World.”

He reached down into the Chapman bag he always carried and pulled out a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. He held it up like a trophy, his eyes sparkling, and thumped it down on the table. “This is for later tonight, when we set foot on the beach. Because tonight, we bring Isabella to one hundred percent full power.”

Silence greeted the announcement. Finally Kate Mercer, the assistant director of the project, spoke. “What happened to the plan to do three runs at ninety-five percent?”

Hazelius returned her look with a smile. “I’m impatient. Aren’t you?”

Mercer brushed back her glossy black hair. “What if we hit an unknown resonance or generate a miniature black hole?”

“Your own calculations show a one in quadrillion chance of that particular downside.”

“My calculations might be wrong.”

“Your calculations are never wrong.” Hazelius smiled and turned to Dolby. “What do you think? Is she ready?”

“You’re damn right she’s ready.”

Hazelius spread his hands. “Well?”

Everyone looked at each other. Should they risk it? Volkonsky, the Russian programmer, suddenly broke the ice. “Yes, we go for it!” He high-fived a startled Hazelius, and then everyone began slapping each other on the back, shaking hands, and hugging, like a basketball team before a game.

Five hours and as many bad coffees later, Dolby stood before the huge flat-panel screen. It was still dark—the matter–antimatter proton beams had not been brought into contact. It took forever to power up the machine and cool down Isabella’s superconducting magnets to carry the very large currents necessary. Then it was a matter of increasing beam luminosity by increments of 5 percent, focusing and collimating the beams, checking the superconducting magnets, running various test programs, before going up to the next 5 percent.

“Power at ninety percent,” Dolby intoned.

“Christ damn,” said Volkonsky somewhere behind him, giving the Sunbeam coffeemaker a blow that made it rattle like the Tin Man. “Empty already!”

Dolby repressed a smile. During the two weeks they’d been up on the mesa, Volkonsky had revealed himself as a wiseass, a slouching, mangy specimen of Eurotrash with long greasy hair, ripped T-shirts, and a pubic clump of beard clinging to his chin. He looked more like a drug addict than a brilliant software engineer. But then, a lot of them were like that.

Another measured ticking of the clock.

“Beams aligned and focused,” said Rae Chen. “Luminosity fourteen TeV.”

“Isabella work fine,” said Volkonsky.

“My systems are all green,” said Cecchini, the particle physicist.

“Security, Mr. Wardlaw?”

The senior intelligence officer, Wardlaw, spoke from his security station. “Just cactus and coyotes, sir.”

“All right,” said Hazelius. “It’s time.” He paused dramatically. “Ken? Bring the beams into collision.”

Dolby felt a quickening of his heart. He touched the dials with his spiderlike fingers, adjusting them with a pianist’s lightness of touch. He followed with a series of commands rapped into the keyboard.


The huge flat-panel screens all around suddenly woke up. A sudden singing noise seemed to float in the air, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once.

“What’s that?” Mercer asked, alarmed.

“A trillion particles blowing through the detectors,” said Dolby. “Sets up a high vibration.”

“Jesus, it sounds like the monolith in 2001.”

Volkonsky hooted like an ape. Everyone ignored him.

An image appeared on the central panel, the Visualizer. Dolby stared at it, entranced. It was like an enormous flower—flickering jets of color radiating from a single point, twisting and writhing as if trying to tear free of the screen. He stood in awe at the intense beauty of it.

“Contact successful,” said Rae Chen. “Beams are focused and collimated. God, it’s a perfect alignment!”

Cheers and some ragged clapping.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Hazelius, “welcome to the shores of the New World.” He gestured to the Visualizer. “You’re looking at an energy density not seen in the universe since the Big Bang.” He turned to Dolby. “Ken, please increase power in increments of tenths to ninety-nine.”

The ethereal sound increased slightly as Dolby worked on the keyboard. “Ninety-six,” he said.

“Luminosity seventeen point four TeV,” said Chen.

“Ninety-seven . . . Ninety-eight.”

The team fell into tense silence, the only sound now the humming that filled the underground control room, as if the mountain around them were singing.

“Beams still focused,” said Chen. “Luminosity twenty-two point five TeV.”


The sound from Isabella had become still higher, purer.

“Just a moment,” said Volkonsky, hunching over the supercomputer workstation. “Isabella is . . . slow.”

Dolby turned sharply. “Nothing wrong with the hardware. It must be another software glitch.”

“Software not problem,” said Volkonsky.

“Maybe we should hold it here,” said Mercer. “Any evidence of miniature black hole creation?”

“No,” said Chen. “Not a trace of Hawking radiation.”

“Ninety-nine point five,” said Dolby.

“I’m getting a charged jet at twenty-two point seven TeV,” said Chen.

“What kind?” asked Hazelius.

“An unknown resonance. Take a look.”

Two flickering red lobes had developed on either side of the flower on the central screen, like a clown’s ears gone wild.

“Hard-scattering,” said Hazelius. “Gluons maybe. Might be evidence of a Kaluza-Klein graviton.”

“No way,” said Chen. “Not at this luminosity.”

“Ninety-nine point six.”

“Gregory, I think we should hold the power steady here,” said Mercer. “A lot of stuff is happening all at once.”

“Naturally we’re seeing unknown resonances,” Hazelius said, his voice no louder than the rest, but somehow distinct from them all. “We’re in unknown territory.”

“Ninety-nine point seven,” Dolby intoned. He had complete confidence in his machine. He could take her to one hundred percent and beyond, if necessary. It gave him a thrill to know they were now sucking up almost a quarter of the juice from Hoover Dam. That was why they had to do their runs in the middle of the night—when power usage was lowest.

“Ninety-nine point eight.”

“We’ve got some kind of really big unknown interaction here,” said Mercer.

“What is problem, bitch?” Volkonsky shouted at the computer.

“I’m telling you, we’re poking our finger into a Kaluza-Klein space,” said Chen. “It’s incredible.”

Snow began to appear on the big flat panel with the flower.

“Isabella is behave strange,” said Volkonsky.

“How so?” Hazelius said, from his position at the center of the Bridge.


Dolby rolled his eyes. Volkonsky was such a pain. “All systems go on my board.”

Volkonsky typed furiously on the keyboard; then he swore in Russian and whacked the monitor with the flat of his hand.

“Gregory, don’t you think we should power down?” asked Mercer.

“Give it a minute more,” said Hazelius.

“Ninety-nine point nine,” said Dolby. In the past five minutes, the room had gone from sleepy to bug-eyed awake, tense as hell. Only Dolby felt relaxed.

“I agree with Kate,” said Volkonsky. “I not like the way Isabella behave. We start power-down sequence.”

“I’ll take full responsibility,” said Hazelius. “Everything is still well within specs. The data stream of ten terabits per second is starting to stick in its craw, that’s all.”

“Craw? What means ‘craw’?”

“Power at one hundred percent,” said Dolby, a note of satisfaction in his laid-back voice.

“Beam luminosity at twenty-seven point one eight two eight TeV,” said Chen.

Snow spackled the computer screens. The singing noise filled the room like a voice from the beyond. The flower on the Visualizer writhed and expanded. A black dot, like a hole, appeared at the center.

“Whoa!” said Chen. “Losing all data at Coordinate Zero.”

The flower flickered. Dark streaks shot through it.

“This is nuts,” said Chen. “I’m not kidding, the data’s vanishing.”

“Not possible,” said Volkonsky. “Data is not vanish. Particles is vanish.”

“Give me a break. Particles don’t vanish.”

“No joke, particles is vanish.”

“Software problem?” Hazelius asked.

“Not software problem,” said Volkonsky loudly. “Hardware problem.”

“Screw you,” Dolby muttered.

“Gregory, Isabella might be tearing the ’brane,” said Mercer. “I really think we should power down now.”

The black dot grew, expanded, began swallowing the image on the screen. At its margins, it jittered manically with intense color.

“These numbers are wild,” said Chen. “I’m getting extreme space-time curvature right at CZero. It looks like some kind of singularity. We might be creating a black hole.”

“Impossible,” said Alan Edelstein, the team’s mathematician, looking up from the workstation he had been quietly hunched over in the corner. “There’s no evidence of Hawking radiation.”

“I swear to God,” said Chen loudly, “we’re ripping a hole in space-time!”

On the screen that ran the program code in real time, the symbols and numbers were flying by like an express train. On the big screen above their heads, the writhing flower had disappeared, leaving a black void. Then there was movement in the void—ghostly, batlike. Dolby stared at it, surprised.

“Damn it, Gregory, power down!” Mercer called.

“Isabella not accept input!” Volkonsky yelled. “I lose core routines!”

“Hold steady for a moment until we can figure out what’s going on,” said Hazelius.

“Gone! Isabella gone!” said the Russian, throwing up his hands and sitting back with a look of disgust on his bony face.

“I’m still green across the board,” said Dolby. “Obviously what you’ve got here is a massive software crash.” He turned his attention back to the Visualizer. An image was appearing in the void, an image so strange, so beautiful, that at first he couldn’t wrap his mind around it. He glanced around, but nobody else was looking: they were all focused on their various consoles.

“Hey, excuse me—anybody know what’s going on up there on the screen?” Dolby asked.

Nobody answered him. Nobody looked up. Everyone was furiously busy. The machine sang strangely.

“I’m just the engineer,” said Dolby, “but any of you theoretical geniuses got an idea of what that is? Alan, is that . . . normal?”

Alan Edelstein glanced up from his workstation distractedly. “It’s just random data,” he said.

“What do you mean, random? It’s got a shape!”

“The computer’s crashed. It can’t be anything but random data.”

“That sure doesn’t look random to me.” Dolby stared at it. “It’s moving. There’s something there, I swear—it almost looks alive, like it’s trying to get out. Gregory, are you seeing this?”

Hazelius glanced up at the Visualizer and paused, surprise blossoming on his face. He turned. “Rae? What’s going on with the Visualizer?”

“No idea. I’m getting a steady blast of coherent data from the detectors. Doesn’t look like Isabella’s crashed from here.”

“How would you interpret that thing on the screen?”

Chen look up and her eyes widened. “Jeez. I’ve no idea.”

“It’s moving,” said Dolby. “It’s, like, emerging.”

The detectors sang, the room humming with their high-pitched whine.

“Rae, it’s garbage data,” Edelstein said. “The computer’s crashed—how can it be real?”

“I’m not so sure it is garbage,” said Hazelius, staring. “Michael, what do you think?”

The particle physicist stared at the image, mesmerized. “It doesn’t make any sense. None of the colors and shapes correspond to particle energies, charges, and classes. It isn’t even radially centered on CZero—it’s like a weird, magnetically bound plasma cloud of some kind.”

“I’m telling you,” said Dolby, “it’s moving, it’s coming out. It’s like a . . . Jesus, what the hell is it?” He closed his eyes hard, trying to chase away the ache of exhaustion. Maybe he was seeing things. He opened them. It was still there—and expanding.

“Shut it down! Shut Isabella down now!” Mercer cried.

Suddenly the panel filled with snow and went dead black.

“What the hell?” Chen cried, her fingers pounding the keyboard. “I’ve lost all input!”

A word slowly materialized in the center of the panel. The group fell into silence, staring. Even Volkonsky’s voice, which had been raised in high excitement, lapsed as if cut off. Nobody moved.

Then Volkonsky began to laugh, a tense, high-pitched laugh, hysterical, desperate.

Dolby felt a sudden rage. “You son of a bitch, you did this.”

Volkonsky shook his head, flapping his greasy locks.

“You think that’s funny?” Dolby asked, getting up from the workstation with clenched fists. “You hack a forty-billion-dollar experiment and you think it’s funny?”

“I not hack anything,” said Volkonsky, wiping his mouth. “You shut hell up.”

Dolby turned and faced the group. “Who did this? Who messed with Isabella?” He turned back to the Visualizer and read out loud the word hanging there, spat it out in his fury. greetings.

He turned back. “I’ll kill the bastard who did this.”

Copyright © 2007 by Splendide Mendax, Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    God speaks English?/Spoilers

    PB/Fiction: I see why this book is so controversial. The former CIA agent and former Catholic monk is our hero. We last saw him in Tyrannosaur Canyon. Isabella is a super-collider in the Arizona desert that is headed by a super scientist who thinks he's smarter than everybody on earth. When Isabella is cranked up to 100%, the voice of God starts talking from a blackhole. At first the scientist believe it is malware, but then God starts answering questions only the scientist know. The first hint that something is fishy is that God speaks English. Then there is the Navaho medicine man, Washington lobbyist, and the loony missionary that collide with the collider. The author writes at the end of the paperback issue that some people thought his book was anti-Christian. His response is that it is not and all the characters are flawed. IMO, it is anti-loony-Christian and anti-government and I didn't have a problem with it. The takeover and mob/riot mentality of the loonies is over-the-top, but that's what you get with a Douglas Preston book. Pretty much all his books are thought of as supernatural at first and science takes over in the end. Surprise ending as far as Ford goes. It's a fun summer read, but I wish is was a little longer and went more into the background of the Navajo medicine man and the televangelist.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    Douglas Preston takes the reader on a journey through science fiction into theology and ties it all together in the end. This is my first book by the author and very pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed the writing style and plot themes the author used. The story starts out hopping around through several characters and what they are all engaged in, about a quarter into the book the ties start to come together but not in any predictable manner. There is a group of 12 scientists in one corner working on a top secret, top dollar government project; a lobbyist with a wounded ego; a televangelist wanting more money at any cost; the President and a few top aides; and finally a whole troop of characters on the Indian reservation offering their perspective where the top secret project is taking place. The morals and impressions I received from the book may not have been intended by the author, but made the book a very enjoyable read. It is beautiful writing when the author can combine science, religion and politics in such a way as to expose the manipulative nature of each while balancing it with the positive contributions each can make as well. Highly recommend A

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

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    interesting and intense

    Science and religion collide in Blasphemy with results that will change humankind forever. This one is hard to review without saying too much and spoiling it for you but I'll try.

    A group of scientists deep in an Arizona mountain have created the world's largest supercollider which will "probe what happened at the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself". Opposing these scientists are the fundamentalist Christians who believe that these scientists are attacking their religion by attempting to disprove Genesis.

    Blasphemy could be considered by many to be controversial with it's plot surrounding the clash of science and religion. The Washington Post says ".....the scenes of howling Christians eagerly killing fellow Americans who don't share their views are chilling, and history reminds us that the more feverish advocates of most religions have been spilling innocent blood for centuries. The novel is entirely readable, and its satire of religious extremism, if heavy-handed, often strikes home." The characters were well written for the most part and the pace moved along pretty well. Overall, I thought this was an entertaining read. There were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming and the one really big plot twist toward the end. The outcome wasn't exactly what I hoped it would be but I can live with that. This is definitely something different and worth a read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    another good Douglas preston book.

    When I first started reading this book, I wasnt sure if id continue because of all the characters and it all seemed hard to follow at first.
    I ENCOURAGE YOU TO PUSH THROUGH THE FIRST PART OF THE BOOK! This book really picks up and makes you want more. There arnt to many books that I just cant put down but this was one of them. This book has a different/good ending. I will warn you that the first 1/3 of the book is a bit slow. Great characters! Made me read more of his books.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2013

    This one's going to be quick. Lots of plot elements and charact

    This one's going to be quick. Lots of plot elements and characters, but some very nice intersections of some very different concepts – a super-collider, Christian fundamentalism, national politics, Indian affairs … the fact that I figured out WHO was responsible didn't lessen my enjoyement (even though I didn't figure out WHY).

    Rating: 4 stars – it felt a little stretched out; with a little extra editing, I would have rated it higher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Incredible story! A Must read!

    Douglas Preston never disappoints. His ability to spin a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat continues with Blasphemy. It is a page turner that you won't be able to put down. Great job!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009


    Sensitive?! Of course you have to be - depending on what side of the fence you're in. This is truly a controversial book. You cannot just read it and simply dismiss it as fiction - it hits too close to home. There are many of us Christians in the world who would not agree with being negatively fictionalized by writers with such strong voices like Mr. Preston's and Mr. Child's. I read all their books and always look forward to more of them but this was a shocker. Overdone, extremist in its portrayal of something so basic as the Christian faith, it raises too many questions. I also read scientific (not science-fiction!) books having to do with technology and where it's leading us and find the storyline threading its way eerily in tune with Ray Kurtzwell's futuristic outlook for humankind. Science as a new religion is not a new concept - forget separation of church and state...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Comedic writing

    The author has used every cliche in the ether to put us to sleep with. Then an extremely weak ending tied up with Scientology and how people will pretty much believe anything. Mr. Child has made his point-I was once a fan,but will no longer be drawn into the 'black holes' that have become his and his sometime co-writer's books. Face it,sir, the well has dried up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is exciting thriller in which science and religion clash

    Physicist Gregory North Hazelius sold the concept of creating a humongous forty billion dollar 'superconducting supercollider particle accelerator' based on finding a new source of energy. He knows not to tell anyone about his personal secret agenda behind why he pushed the Isabella project as it is called he plans to duplicate the Big Bang of creation in order to speak to God.----------- The Navajo Indian Reservation in the southwest is chosen as the locale for Isabella. Work begins inside the five-hundred-square-mile Red Mesa tableland. However, the project falls behind schedule disturbing DC politicos who bet on its quick success. Presidential science adviser Dr. Stanton Lockwood sends former CIA operative Wyman Ford to investigate why the delay and is there any way to propel the project back on schedule. At the same time, others strongly oppose Isabella fearing the wrath of God. Televangelist Reverend Don Spates claims scientific blasphemy challenging heaven Navaho shamans share Spates¿ fears that the world is coming to an end. These two diverse groups plan to destroy the evil scientists and their blasphemous Isabella before the Armageddon Big Crunch occurs.----------- This is exciting thriller in which science and religion clash in many ways the tale is a modernizing of Frankenstein as Isabella is considered the monster by the evangelists and the Navaho while Dr. Hazelius (and twelve other scientists) is the zealous creator. The story line starts slow as the cast is set, but once everyone converges on the southwest, the plot is faster than an atom flying around a supercollider. Fans will enjoy Douglas J. Preston¿s entertaining action-packed tale.------------ Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    I loved it

    I love reading Preston and this one is no exception.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Preston, always good

    I think I've read most if not all of Child's and Preston's books, never disappointing.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Mr Preston has done it again! This a book you WILL NOT put down! He will take you to hights & lows you never felt before! This book will make you forget to breath! Fatastic experience that you will not forget and will make you question!!!

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  • Posted January 21, 2012


    Read this for book club and couldn't even finish it (which is rare for me). About half of club didn't finish the book and no one recalls if that has ever happened before. Those who did finish it only did so out of obligation. Only one person in the group liked it, other than him the highest rating was a 4 out of 10.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Young readers

    I have found that this is a book that can give a reader a good bit of action but also a good religious stand who are with in this story.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Great story,sure to be controversial with fundamentalists.

    Really enjoyed this book.Yes,it does get to a slow start, but once it gets going you don't want to stop reading.I don't think this story is as much a criticism of religion in general as it is a knock against the more extreme,unwilling to compromise, elements of fundamentalist religions.
    Sure, the portrayals of the religious groups in this book are "cartoonish" and exaggerated,as some have said. However,we have recently had prominent fundamentalist leaders in this country citing a fable about Haitian slaves making a "pact with the devil" as the reason for the horrible earthquake there.At another time we had a religious leader calling for the "taking out" of certain world leaders.I think this makes these leaders and their followers as fair game for an over the top portrayal.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    Give me a break!

    A little improbability can often make a thriller fun to read. Piled on like it is in this book, the willing suspension of disbelief gets left way back there in the rear view mirror. This is an absolutely ridiculous novel. Fredric Brown wrote the same story decades ago. His was two pages long!

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    loved it

    cannot find anything bad to say, i loved it so much. i just think it is weird how it is called isabella in the book and torus in the shop description.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good for a quick read, but not for physicists

    Blasphemy is the second book featuring Wynam Ford (now a private detective). In this book, Ford infiltrates a government-run facility which has built the world's largest particle accelerator for a mere $40 billion. (Please suspend your disbelief.) I like the way Preston has worked together several subplots which all culminate at the end of the book for a complex climax. I am also a fan of Preston's easy writing style-it's good for a quick read. I am not a fan of Preston's portrayal of Born Again Christians-I think it's a bit over-the-top, though I guess it's a reasonable depiction of a very small percentage of rapture-ready Christians. Also, Preston is clearly not a physicist, but I guess not everyone can be perfect. :) Overall, I think Blasphemy was good for a quick sci-fi/techno read, but shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's a beach-book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    This was a page turner & hard to but down. Highly entertaining.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    Blasphemy By Douglas Preston
    I'm reading it right now. So far so good. A super genius over-the-top smart-kid tycoon, young billionaire named Hazelius is the creator of a supercollider in the Nevada wilderness. Other characters include a brilliant African American computer scientist named Dolby, a messy Russian computer geek, and a puffy, corrupt televangelist. This is my first Douglas Preston book. So far I really like the characters and I'm enjoying the story. More later.

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