Paradox, the first installment of British author John Meaney's Nulapeiron Sequence trilogy, is a cerebral science fiction thriller of the highest order. In a subterranean world where an elite few rule over an oppressed and often brutalized populace, can one impoverished young man topple the entire system -- and attain revenge -- with just his intellect?
When Tom Corcorigan, a resident of one of the lower (and poorer) underground strata of the planet Nulapeiron, is given a strange data-crystal by a mysterious woman with obsidian eyes, his purposeless existence is forever changed. The woman turns out to be a Pilot, one of the legendary navigators of the mu-space pathways between worlds, and her few words to Tom are as understated as they are prophetic: "Life is a mortal pilgrimage, my friend." When his mother is abducted shortly thereafter by an all-powerful Oracle (whose ability to truecast the future has kept the status quo for centuries) and his father is killed, Tom sets out on an improbable quest to somehow murder a man who knows the future.
A substantial novel in every sense of the word, Paradox incorporates numerous scientific disciplines and concepts (quantum chaos theory, fractal calculus, organic technology, etc.), profound existential analysis, various martial arts philosophies, and even the timeless insights of Sun Tzu. Published in England in 2000 and shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association's Best Novel Award, Paradox had to wait five years for its U.S. release. Why did it take so long for American publishers to discover the man that Robert J. Sawyer calls "one of the most original voices, and most insightful thinkers, the genre has ever produced"? The book's title is self-explanatory. Paul Goat Allen