The Footprints of God

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In the heart of North Carolina's Research Triangle stands a corporate laboratory much like the others nearby. But behind its walls, America's top scientists work around the clock to attain the holy grail of the twenty-first century - a supercomputer that surpasses the power of the human mind.

Appointed by the president as ethicist to Project Trinity, Dr. David Tennant finds himself in a pressure cooker of groundbreaking science and colossal ambition. When his friend and fellow ...

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The Footprints of God: A Novel

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Overview

In the heart of North Carolina's Research Triangle stands a corporate laboratory much like the others nearby. But behind its walls, America's top scientists work around the clock to attain the holy grail of the twenty-first century - a supercomputer that surpasses the power of the human mind.

Appointed by the president as ethicist to Project Trinity, Dr. David Tennant finds himself in a pressure cooker of groundbreaking science and colossal ambition. When his friend and fellow scientist is murdered, David discovers that the genius who runs Project Trinity was responsible and that his own life is in danger. Unable to reach the president, and afraid to trust his colleagues, David turns to Rachel Weiss, the psychiatrist probing the nightmares that have plagued him during his work at Trinity. Rachel is skeptical of David's fears, but when an assassin strikes, the two doctors must flee for their lives.

Pursued across the globe by ruthless National Security Agency operatives, David and Rachel struggle to piece together the truth behind Project Trinity and the enormous power it could unleash upon the world. As constant danger deepens their intimacy, Rachel realizes the key to Trinity lies buried in David's disturbed mind. But Trinity's clock is ticking ...

Mankind is being held hostage by a machine that cannot be destroyed. Its only hope - a terrifying chess game between David and the Trinity computer, with the cities of the world as pawns. But what are the rules? How human is the machine? Can one man and woman change the course of history? Man's future hangs in the balance, and the price of failure is extinction.

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Editorial Reviews

Linda Fairstein
Greg Iles is a superb writer, and now he displays his genius and style in a stunning new direction. The Footprints of God is a powerful brew of science and suspense that will leave you dazzled!
New York Times-bestselling author of The Bone Vault
Vince Flynn
A riveting page-turner in the tradition of Robert Ludlum. Greg Iles brings imagination and vision to a novel as thought-provoking as it is thrilling.
New York Times-bestselling author of Executive Power
Dan Brown
Deftly navigating the perilous waters between science and spirituality, Greg Iles has crafted an alarming, believable, and utterly consuming tale of good and evil, of destiny and choice. The Footprints of God is my favorite kind of novel--one that educates while it entertains. Ambitious in its scope and superbly satisfying in its execution, this story resonates long after the final page is turned.
#1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code
Publishers Weekly
The shoot-'em-up potential of spiritual subject matter has recently been profitably exploited by a number of writers (most notably James BeauSeigneur in his Christ Clone trilogy). In this compelling, science-based entry, Iles (Sleep No More; 24 Hours; The Quiet Game) gives his own particular spin on biblical mayhem. "My name is David Tennant, M.D. I'm professor of ethics at the University of Virginia Medical School, and if you're watching this tape, I'm dead." Tennant works for Project Trinity, a secret government organization attempting to build a quantum-level supercomputer. Using advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques, Tennant and five other top scientists have supplied Trinity, the experimental computer, with molecular copies of themselves as models for a neurological operating system. As Trinity comes to life, the men who control the experiment begin to split into competing factions, each determined to use the computer for his own ends. When Tennant tries to shut the project down because of ethical considerations, he is marked for death by the beautiful but physically and psychologically scarred Geli Bauer, head of security. Iles writes himself onto a high wire that stretches over a dangerous fictional chasm as Tennant begins to have narcoleptic seizures and see life through the eyes of Jesus Christ. That this talented author makes it to the other side without falling is testament to his ingenuity and intelligence. Armageddon looms as nuclear missiles streak toward the United States, and the fate of mankind rests on Tennant's ability to reason with the omnipotent Trinity. Readers interested in the exploration of religious themes without the usual New Age blather or window-dressed dogma will snap up this novel of cutting-edge science. (Aug.) Forecast: This is likely to be the biggest hit yet for bestselling Iles, since it will appeal to the (many) devotees of apocalyptic fiction, as well as to Iles's usual fan base. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
From its masterly opening line, Iles's (24 Hours) latest thriller is impossible to put down. We find Dr. David Tennant contemplating his life after friend and mentor Andrew Fielding is found dead in his lab. A stroke is the suspected cause, but David knows better because both men were part of an ultra-top-secret project known as Project Trinity, a quantum leap in the future of supercomputing and artificial intelligence. Both men had warned their managers about the experiment's dangers, and now David believes that he is next on the hit list. But he is starting to show strange side effects from the treatment he undertook for the project and is experiencing vivid visions of being Jesus Christ. His psychiatrist thinks that he should be institutionalized, until she, too, is targeted to be killed. The reader must make a great leap of faith in the final third of the book, and while not everyone will agree with Iles's conclusions, the work as a whole is extremely compelling. This is Iles's best book yet and should be a major best seller. For all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/03.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wildly unbelievable tale of a sentient computer that-what else?-seizes control of the Internet, the world's military defense systems, and a medical ethicist. A great, grab-you-by-the-throat beginning ("If you're watching this tape, I'm dead") rapidly loses strength as Iles (Sleep No More, 2002, etc.) piles up several far-fetched premises. Dr. David Tennant, a conveniently widowed medical ethicist who's partly responsible for the development of Project Trinity, has been troubled by periods of narcolepsy, followed by peculiar visions, ever since his brain was scanned by a tremendously powerful MRI machine. Tennant's scan, along with others, has been used to create a secret supercomputer for the National Security Agency. Tennant's medical knowledge leads him to believe that the fatal stroke recently suffered by another member of the computer development team, Dr. Arthur Fielding, was actually murder: Fielding had misgivings about the computer, contemplated halting the project, and used holographic technology to hide information about the project in the crystal of his fob watch. The NSA, with egotistic tech billionaire Peter Godin and scheming NSA Deputy Director John Skow, want the project to continue, and they've gotten the psychotically vicious NSA security operative Geli Bauer eager to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to please her superiors. Only Tennant's psychiatrist, Rachel Weiss, believes that he just might not be crazy as they set off, with $20,000 in cash and NSA goons on their trail, to Fielding's Nags Head vacation home and then to Israel to learn more about the source of his visions. Meanwhile, Trinity takes over, neutron bomb-tipped missiles are launched and, instead of stoppingthem, Trinity insists on discussing gee-whiz theology with Tennant in preparation for a final step that might give Trinity godlike powers. At his best (Black Cross, 1995, for instance), Iles enlivened a tired formula about American WWII commandos behind enemy lines thwarting a Nazi plan. Here, the laughable improbabilities in a Frankenstein/Colossus/2001: A Space Odyssey rehash bring on the literary equivalent of a systems crash.
From the Publisher
"As thought-provoking as it is thrilling."

—Vince Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Protect and Defend

"SUPERBLY SATISFYING.... Deftly navigates the perilous waters between science and spirituality."

— Dan Brown, #1 bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code

"AMAZING"

— Nelson DeMille

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743454148
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Iles
Greg Iles was born in 1960 in Germany. He founded the band Frankly Scarlet, plays guitar for the Rock Bottom Remainders, and is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Blood Memory and 24 Hours. He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

Biography

Greg Iles has led a sort of double life as a novelist. His first books, based on extrapolations from real events in World War II, earned him an initial following, but his very modern crime novels are what currently hold his -- and his readers' -- focus. His tight pacing and chilling, innovative concepts have made him especially attractive to Hollywood, which has optioned and/or expressed interest in several of his books.

Iles's first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was about the secret escape of a Nazi soldier and the chilling plot related in his discovered diaries. It was a mixed success critically, earning praise for its premise but low marks on style. Since then, Iles has clearly developed as a novelist, and branched out in themes too.

With his second novel, Black Cross, Iles displayed more of a voice and more streamlined plotting in his story of a conspiracy to use the Nazi's own weapons against them. Those first two titles did become bestsellers; but by the time Iles shifted gears to write crime thrillers set in his native Mississippi, he found himself getting even more attention -- and better reviews. His next two books, Mortal Fear and The Quiet Game, remain his personal favorites. Iles was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was in charge of the medical clinic at the U.S. Embassy, in 1961. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983 and played guitar in a rock band for several years before trying his hand at writing novels.

Moving from screenplays to thrillers to speculative historical fiction, Iles continues to stretch as a writer. He also indulges his love for music (he once played guitar in the band Frankly Scarlet) by performing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, an author side project that includes writers Stephen King, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, and Amy Tan

Good To Know

After graduation from college, Iles worked as an x-ray and lab technician for his father, dug ditches, and worked as a professional guitarist and singer.

Iles has the ability to be gloomily prophetic, but not intentionally. In an online chat in 1997, a fan pointed out that some real-life Internet-related murders had followed his Mortal Fear. Iles responded: "A lot of my books have been that way. My World War II thriller about Sarin gas [Black Cross] was published two months before the Sarin attack in the Japanese subway. There are very weird coincidences out there. And I do have one surefire plot I have not and probably never will write, because of my fear someone will carry it out."

Iles's wife is a high-school sweetheart whom he married when he was 29.

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    1. Hometown:
      Natchez, Mississippi
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Stuttgart, Germany
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Mississippi, 1983
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"My name is David Tennant, M.D. I'm professor of ethics at the University of Virginia Medical School, and if you're watching this tape, I'm dead."

I took a breath and gathered myself. I didn't want to rant. I'd mounted my Sony camcorder on a tripod and rotated the LCD screen in order to see myself as I spoke. I'd lost weight over the past weeks. My eyes were red with fatigue, the orbits shiny and dark. I looked more like a hunted criminal than a grieving friend.

"I don't really know where to begin. I keep seeing Andrew lying on the floor. And I know they killed him. But...I'm getting ahead of myself. You need facts. I was born in 1961 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. My father was James Howard Tennant, the nuclear physicist. My mother was Ann Tennant, a pediatrician. I'm making this tape in a sober state of mind, and I'm going to deposit it with my attorney as soon as I finish, on the understanding that it should be opened if I die for any reason.

"Six hours ago, my colleague Dr. Andrew Fielding was found dead beside his desk, the victim of an apparent stroke. I can't prove it, but I know Fielding was murdered. For the past two years, he and I have been part of a scientific team funded by the National Security Agency and DARPA — the government agency that created the Internet in the 1970s. Under the highest security classification, that team and its work are known as Project Trinity."

I glanced down at the short-barreled Smith & Wesson .38 in my lap. I'd made sure the pistol wasn't visible on camera, but it calmed me to have it within reach. Reassured, I again stared at the glowing red light.

"Two years ago, Peter Godin, founder of the Godin Supercomputing Corporation, had an epiphany much like that mythical moment when an apple dropped onto Isaac Newton's head. It happened in a dream. Seemingly from nowhere, a seventy-year-old man visualized the most revolutionary possibility in the history of science. When he woke up, Godin telephoned John Skow, a deputy director of the NSA, in Fort Meade, Maryland. By six A.M., the two men had drafted and delivered a letter to the president of the United States. That letter shook the White House to its foundations. I know this because the president was my brother's close friend in college. My brother died three years ago, but because of him, the president knew of my work, which is what put me in the middle of all that followed."

I rubbed the cool metal of the .38, wondering what to tell and what to leave out. Leave out nothing, said a voice in my head. My father's voice. Fifty years ago, he'd played his own part in America's secret history, and that burden had greatly shortened his days. My father died in 1988, a haunted man, certain that the Cold War he'd spent his youthful energy to perpetuate would end with the destruction of civilization, as it so easily could have. Leave out nothing....

"The Godin Memo," I continued, "had the same effect as the letter Albert Einstein sent President Roosevelt at the beginning of World War Two, outlining the potential for an atomic bomb and the possibility that Nazi Germany might develop one. Einstein's letter spurred the Manhattan Project, the secret quest to ensure that America would be the first to possess nuclear weapons. Peter Godin's letter resulted in a project of similar scope but infinitely greater ambition. Project Trinity began behind the walls of an NSA front corporation in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina. Only six people on the planet ever had full knowledge of Trinity. Now that Andrew Fielding is dead, only five remain. I'm one. The other four are Peter Godin, John Skow, Ravi Nara — "

I bolted to my feet with the .38 in my hand. Someone was rapping on my front door. Through thin curtains, I saw a Federal Express truck parked at the foot of my sidewalk. What I couldn't see was the space immediately in front of my door.

"Who is it?" I called.

"FedEx," barked a muffled male voice. "I need a signature."

I wasn't expecting a delivery. "Is it a letter or a package?"

"Letter."

"Who from?"

"Uhh...Lewis Carroll."

I shivered. A package from a dead man? Only one person would send me a package under the name of the author of Alice in Wonderland. Andrew Fielding. Had he sent me something the day before he died? Fielding had been obsessively searching the Trinity labs for weeks now, the computers as well as the physical space. Perhaps he'd found something. And perhaps whatever it was had got him killed. I'd sensed something strange about Fielding's behavior yesterday — not so easy with a man famed for his eccentricities — but by this morning he'd seemed to be his old self.

"Do you want this thing or not?" asked the deliveryman.

I cocked the pistol and edged over to the door. I'd fastened the chain latch when I'd got home. With my left hand, I unlocked the door and pulled it open to the length of the chain. Through the crack, I saw the face of a uniformed man in his twenties, his hair bound into a short ponytail.

"Pass your pad through with the package. I'll sign and give it back to you."

"It's a digital pad. I can't give you that."

"Keep your hand on it, then."

"Paranoid," he muttered, but he stuck a thick orange pad through the crack in the door.

I grabbed the stylus hanging from the string and scrawled my name on the touch-sensitive screen. "Okay."

The pad disappeared, and a FedEx envelope was thrust through. I took it and tossed it onto the sofa, then shut the door and waited until I heard the truck rumble away from the curb.

I picked up the envelope and glanced at the label. "Lewis Carroll" had been signed in Fielding's spidery hand. As I pulled the sheet of paper from the envelope, a greasy white granular substance spilled over my fingers. The instant my eyes registered the color, some part of my brain whispered anthrax. The odds of that were low, but my best friend had just died under suspicious circumstances. A certain amount of paranoia was justified.

I hurried to the kitchen and scrubbed my hands with dish soap and water. Then I pulled a black medical bag from my closet. Inside was the usual pharmacopoeia of the M.D.'s home: analgesics, anti-biotics, emetics, steroid cream. I found what I wanted in a snap compartment: a blister pack of Cipro, a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic. I swallowed one pill with water from the tap, then took a pair of surgical gloves from the bag. As a last precaution, I tied a dirty T-shirt from the hamper around my nose and mouth. Then I folded the FedEx envelope and letter into separate Ziploc bags, sealed them, and laid them on the counter.

As badly as I wanted to read the letter, part of me resisted. Fielding might have been murdered for what was written on that page. Even if that weren't the case, nothing good would come from my reading it.

I carefully vacuumed the white granules from the carpet in the front room, wondering if I could be wrong about Fielding's death being murder. He and I had worked ourselves into quite a state of suspicion over the past weeks, but then we had reason to. And the timing was too damn convenient. Instead of putting the vacuum cleaner back into the closet, I walked to the back door and tossed the machine far into the yard. I could always buy another one.

I was still eerily aware of the letter sitting on the kitchen counter. I felt like a soldier's wife refusing to open a telegram. But I already knew my friend was dead. So what did I fear?

The why, answered a voice in my head. Fielding talking. You want to keep your head in the sand. It's the American national pastime....

More than a little irritated to find that the dead could be as bothersome as the living, I picked up the Ziploc containing the letter and carried it to the front room. The note was brief and handwritten.

David,

We must meet again. I finally confronted Godin with my suspicions. His reaction astounded me. I don't want to commit anything to paper, but I know I'm right. Lu Li and I are driving to the blue place on Saturday night. Please join us. It's close quarters, but discreet. It may be time for you to contact your late brother's friend again, though I wonder if even he can do anything at this point. Things like this have a momentum greater than individuals. Greater even than humanity, I fear. If anything should happen to me, don't forget that little gold item I asked you to hold for me one day. Desperate times, mate. I'll see you Saturday.

There was no signature, but below the note was a hand-drawn cartoon of a rabbit's head and the face of a clock. The White Rabbit, an affectionate nickname given Fielding by his Cambridge physics students. Fielding always carried a gold pocket watch, and that was the "little gold item" that he had asked me to hold for him one day.

We were passing each other in the hallway when he pressed the watch and chain into my hand. "Mind keeping that for an hour, old man?" he'd murmured. "Lovely." Then he was gone. An hour later he stopped by my office to pick it up, saying he hadn't wanted to take the watch into the MRI lab with him, where it could have been smashed against the MRI unit by the machine's enormous magnetic fields. But Fielding visited the MRI lab all the time, and he'd never given me his pocket watch before. And he never did again. It must have been in his pocket when he died. So what the hell was he up to that day?

I read the note again. Lu Li and I are driving to the blue place on Saturday night. Lu Li was Fielding's new Chinese wife. The "blue place" had to be code for a beach cabin at Nags Head, on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Three months ago, when Fielding asked for a recommendation for his honeymoon, I'd suggested the Nags Head cabin, which was only a few hours away. Fielding and his wife had loved the place, and the Englishman had apparently thought of it when he wanted a secure location to discuss his fears.

My hands were shaking. The man who had written this note was now as cold as the morgue table he was lying on, if indeed he was lying in a morgue. No one had been able — or willing — to tell me where my friend's body would be taken. And now the white powder. Would Fielding have put powder in the envelope and neglected to mention it in his letter? If he didn't, who did? Who but the person who had murdered him?

I laid the letter on the sofa, stripped off the surgical gloves, and rewound the videotape to the point at which I'd walked out of the frame. I had decided to make this tape because I feared I might be killed before I could tell the president what I knew. Fielding's letter had changed nothing. Yet as I stared into the lens, my mind wandered. I was way ahead of Fielding on calling my "late brother's friend." The moment I'd seen Fielding's corpse on the floor of his office, I knew I had to call the president. But the president was in China. Still, as soon as I got clear of the Trinity lab, I'd called the White House from a pay phone in a Shoney's restaurant, a "safe" phone Fielding had told me about. It couldn't be seen by surveillance teams in cars, and the restaurant's interior geometry made it difficult for a parabolic microphone to eavesdrop from a distance.

When I said "Project Trinity," the White House operator put me through to a man who gruffly asked me to state my business. I asked to speak to Ewan McCaskell, the president's chief of staff, whom I'd met during my visit to the Oval Office. McCaskell was in China with the president. I asked that the president be informed that David Tennant needed to speak to him urgently about Project Trinity, and that no one else involved with Trinity should be informed. The man said my message would be passed on and hung up.

Thirteen hours separated North Carolina and Beijing. That made it tomorrow in China. Daylight. Yet four hours had passed since my call, and I'd heard nothing. Would my message be relayed to China, given the critical nature of the summit? There was no way to know. I did know that if someone at Trinity heard about my call first, I might wind up as dead as Fielding before I talked to the president.

I hit start on the remote control and spoke again to the camera.

"In the past six months I've gone from feeling like part of a noble scientific effort to questioning whether I'm even living in the United States. I've watched Nobel laureates give up all principle in a search for — "

I went still. Something had passed by one of my front windows. A face. Very close, peering inside. I'd seen it through the sheer curtains, but I was sure. A face, framed by shoulder-length hair. I had a sense of a woman's features, but...

I started to get up, then sat back down. My teeth were vibrating with an electric pain like aluminum foil crushed between dental fillings. My eyelids felt too heavy to hold open. Not now, I thought, shoving my hand into my pocket for my prescription bottle. Jesus, not now. For six months, every member of Trinity's inner circle had suffered frightening neurological symptoms. No one's symptoms were the same. My affliction was narcolepsy. Narcolepsy and dreams. At home, I usually gave in to the trancelike sleep. But when I needed to fight off a spell — at Trinity, or driving my car — only amphetamines could stop the overwhelming waves.

I pulled out my prescription bottle and shook it. Empty. I'd swallowed my last pill yesterday. I got my speed from Ravi Nara, Trinity's neurologist, but Nara and I were no longer speaking. I tried to rise, thinking I'd call a pharmacy and prescribe my own, but that was ridiculous. I couldn't even stand. A leaden heaviness had settled into my limbs. My face felt hot, and my eyelids began to fall.

The prowler was at the window again. In my mind, I raised my gun and aimed it, but then I saw the weapon lying in my lap. Not even survival instinct could clear the fog filling my brain. I looked back at the window. The face was gone. A woman's face. I was sure of it. Would they use a woman to kill me? Of course. They were pragmatists. They used what worked.

Something scratched at my doorknob. Through the thickening haze I fought to aim my gun at the door. Something slammed against the wood. I got my finger on the trigger, but as my swimming brain transmitted the instruction to depress it, sleep annihilated consciousness like fingers snuffing a candle flame.

Andrew Fielding sat alone at his desk, furiously smoking a cigarette. His hands were shaking from a confrontation with Godin. It had happened the previous day, but Fielding had the habit of replaying such scenes in his mind, agonizing over how ineffectually he had stated his case, murmuring retorts he should have made at the time but had not.

The argument had been the result of weeks of frustration. Fielding didn't like arguments, not ones outside the realm of physics, anyway. He'd put off the meeting until the last possible moment. He pottered around his office, pondering one of the central riddles of quantum physics: how two particles fired simultaneously from the same source could arrive at the same destination at the same instant, even though one had to travel ten times as far as the other. It was like two 747s flying from New York to Los Angeles — one flying direct and the other having to fly south to Miami before turning west to Los Angeles — yet both touching down at LAX at the same moment. The 747 on the direct route flew at the speed of light, yet the plane that had to detour over Miami still reached L.A. at the same instant. Which meant that the second plane had flown faster than the speed of light. Which meant that Einstein's general theory of relativity was flawed. Possibly. Fielding spent a great deal of time thinking about this problem.

He lit another cigarette and thought about the letter he'd FedExed to David Tennant. It didn't say enough. Not nearly. But it would have to do until they met at Nags Head. Tennant would be working a few steps up the hall from him all afternoon, but he might as well be in Fiji. No square foot of the Trinity complex was free of surveillance and recording devices. Tennant would get the letter this afternoon, if no one intercepted it. To prevent this, Fielding had instructed his wife to drop it at a FedEx box inside the Durham post office, beyond the sight line of anyone following her from a distance. That was all the spouses usually got — random surveillance from cars — but you never knew.

Tennant was Fielding's only hope. Tennant knew the president. He'd had cocktails in the White House, anyway. Fielding had won the Nobel in 1998, but he'd never been invited to 10 Downing Street. Never would be, in all likelihood. He'd shaken hands with the PM at a reception once, but that wasn't the same thing. Not at all.

He took a drag on the cigarette and looked down at his desk. An equation lay there, a collapsing wave function, unsolvable using present-day mathematics. Not even the world's most powerful supercomputers could solve a collapsing wave function. There was one machine on the planet that might make headway with the problem — at least he believed there was — and if he was right, the term supercomputer might soon become as quaint and archaic as abacus. But the machine that could solve a collapsing wave function would be capable of a lot more than computing. It would be everything Peter Godin had promised the mandarins in Washington, and more. That "more" was what scared Fielding. Scared the bloody hell out of him. For no one could predict the unintended consequences of bringing such a thing into existence. "Trinity" indeed.

He was thinking of going home early when something flashed in his left eye. There was no pain. Then the visual field in that eye swirled into a blur, and an explosion seemed to detonate in the left frontal lobe of his brain. A stroke, he thought with clinical detachment. I'm having a stroke. Strangely calm, he reached for the telephone to call 911, then remembered that the world's preeminent neurologist was working in the office four doors down from his own.

The telephone would be faster than walking. He reached for the receiver, but the event taking place within his cranium suddenly bloomed to its full destructive power. The clot lodged, or the blood vessel burst, and his left eye went black. Then a knifelike pain pierced the base of his brain, the center of life support functions. Falling toward the floor, Fielding thought again of that elusive particle that had traveled faster than the speed of light, that had proved Einstein wrong by traversing space as though it did not exist. He posed a thought experiment: If Andrew Fielding could move as fast as that particle, could he reach Ravi Nara in time to be saved?

Answer: No. Nothing could save him now.

His last coherent thought was a prayer, a silent hope that in the unmapped world of the quantum, consciousness existed beyond what humans called death. For Fielding, religion was an illusion, but at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Project Trinity had uncovered hope of a new immortality. And it wasn't the Rube Goldberg monstrosity they were pretending to build a hundred meters from his office door.

The impact of the floor was like water.


I jerked awake and grabbed my gun. Someone was banging the front door taut against the security chain. I tried to get to my feet, but the dream had disoriented me. Its lucidity far surpassed anything I'd experienced to date. I actually felt that I had died, that I was Andrew Fielding at the moment of his death —

"Dr. Tennant?" shouted a woman's voice. "David! Are you in there?"

My psychiatrist? I put my hand to my forehead and tried to fight my way back to reality. "Dr. Weiss? Rachel? Is that you?"

"Yes! Unlatch the chain!"

"I'm coming," I muttered. "Are you alone?"

"Yes! Open the door."

I stuffed my gun between the couch cushions and stumbled toward the door. As I reached for the chain latch, it struck me that I had never told my psychiatrist where I lived.

Copyright © 2003 by Greg Iles

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 70 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2007

    A True Masterpiece for this Century

    Very rarely do I rate books a five out of five. This is one of them. Greg Iles 'Footprints of God' is an extremely intelligent novel filled with philosophical, theoretical, and scientific ideas many of us do not take the time to consider. Despite the title, the book is not as religious as some people might think. There is a concept of a greater entity, and it is through this entity that the plot gathers its strength, creating a sort of scientific mysticism. Aside from all the philosophical ideas within this novel, 'The Footprints of God' is undeniably heart-pumping. The suspense created by the chase, and the inevitable completion of disaster will keep you at the edge of your seat. This is a must-read book for all readers no matter your religion. All you need is an open mind.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    A great read!

    My first book by this author, and I'm glad I picked it up. This book was excellent! I couldn't put it down! I found myself captivated by the characters as much as by the story. It was very fast paced, and well written, not to mention an intriguing and believable story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    Yawn City

    Huge disappointment. 240 pages into it I finally put it down. Got tired of the chase. Too formulaic and really nothing to write about, nothing to hold my attention. In fact, this reviewer was never entirely certain of what, exactly, the chase was all about, other than super-heated egos at work. Iles can, and HAS, done better. Words NOT to use when describing this book: riveting, exciting, astonishing, illuminating. In short, it was sheer drudgery and an enormous disappointment.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    expected better

    It starts out with a good premise but gets bogged down with too many unbelievable scenarios. After being so impressed with BLACK CROSS, I expected better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. The suspense kept building througho

    I really enjoyed this book. The suspense kept building throughout the story and I was not dissapointed in the end. A good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Loved it!

    Could not put it down!

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good book!

    I bought this book before I realized that I realized that I had read it before. That being, said I re-read the book and still enjoy reading it again. Shows (fictionally) what would happen if computers had the ability to think for themselves and act on those thoughts. Scary vision!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Amazing

    Wow!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2011

    Completely impressed.

    I picked this book up at a WalMart in, of all places, New Mexico on a road trip. I was amazed. This is an ( ;) ) INTRIGUING, ENTHRALLING, EXCITING book and I actually read it twice.

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  • Posted April 21, 2011

    Beyond words! Love this book!

    This is my favorite Isles book, and I've read them all. All I can really say is READ THIS BOOK! Highly thought provoking. Isles is one of the very best.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Audio: Really Bad

    I have to agree with the other 14 people on Amazon that this book is bad. I really like Greg Iles audios, but this one was a lemon that I am glad I only paid a dollar for. It is Iles attempt at science fiction and it is Wargames meets the Terminator, on Judgment Day. It was abridged, and maybe I was missing something. If it had been unabridged, I may have quit halfway through; six hours was too long. There was too much religion replacing or explaining science.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2010

    Easy read

    Had enough action to keep me interested and a easy read

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  • Posted February 3, 2009

    Very different

    usually not my genre but for some reason this book captured my attention instintaniously. Good book and a definit double read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    imaginative, out-of-the-box creative

    This book was recommended by a friend. It took a few chapters before I really got into it, but I found the concept very intriguing. The story plays out great and captures the imagination!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2007

    Outstanding

    Greg Iles is the master of the mind twisting storyline. I could not put this book down. Extremely intelligent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2006

    Good read, a definite page turner

    This author and book was recommended to me. After reading it I was not dissapointed. Good story and lots of action and twists. The ending left me wanting for more, comparing it to the fast paced first 3/4s of the book. Anyways, it's a definite good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    Great Find

    This is my first book by Iles. I am sure I will be reading some others. Very imaginative story. Reminded me of some Michael Chrichton books and was similar to the DaVinci code. A great blend of science fiction and science fact. A true techno thriller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2004

    One of my Favorite all time books

    I dont care what other people say about this book, it is one of my all time favorites. Not even neccesarily because of the plot which is a relatively common theme, but because of how its delivered and the underlying intricacy embedded in it. I love philosophy and this was a great read that never got slow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2004

    Sub-Iles

    I have read all of Greg Iles books to date and this one was, by far, the most disappointing. While I enjoy an occassional foray into the creative fictional realm, this one was simply too predictable - machine takes over mankind, mankind reigns supreme, blah, blah, blah.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2004

    What more can you ask for in a book?

    This one has it all: Suspense, action, politics, religion, philosophy, even a bit of romance. Very well done, Greg. A techno-thriller and page turner that grabs you right at the beginning. It lags just one little bit in the first quarter of the book but then picks up speed and is a hard one to put down. I am amazed at the authors versatility in his writing. I have read every one of his books and they are all different, with one exception - they all keep you turning those pages. The author makes a statement at the end of the book that may help the reader before he starts the book: 'Writing about science and philosophy in a commercial novel is problematic. Write about them at their natural level and you leave the masses behind. Simplify too much, and you offend those individuals conversant in those subjects. I trust you will enter this book as an exercise of the mind and not judge too harshly either way. If we have learned anything in the past ten thousand years, it is that nothing is certain.' Greg Iles writes a riveting yet believable story about artificial intelligence and a Super Computer developed by the greatest minds in science, a team of nobel-prize winning scientists. Known as 'Trinity' the super computer is a merger of man (his mind) and machine, and what can be done with it. The possibilities are fascinating and frightening. Yet the story line explores religion, conscience, military strategies, philosophy and much more.- the reader is cognizant that this is a conceivable achievement in the light of today's advances in technology. I can see why Dan Brown (author of DaVinci Code) liked this book. It is written in the same fast-paced way and with a lot of factual research and information. It takes you through some of our actual military bases and research sites, and references actual events that have happened in our history with nuclear development. The novel takes the reader to Israel as well, where I found that part of the book fascinating as the main character searched for answers in the life of Jesus and His resurrection. I disagree with any reviewers that don't recommend this - it may be Iles best work to date. It gives you a lot to think about, yet it entertains you - like I said at the start - what more can you ask for in a book?

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