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Secret Passages
Paul Preuss
Tor Books, 384 pages

Secret Passages
Paul Preuss
Paul Preuss' previous novels include The Gates of Heaven, Broken Symmetries and Starfire.

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Secret Passages Excerpt

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Kim Seidman

Secret Passages, a novel by Paul Preuss, is a work of historical fiction that touches on some deep ideas in quantum physics. The main character is an aged physicist from Crete named Manolis Minakis. Miankis is attempting to compel another physicist, Peter Slater, to join him. Using knowledge he has about Peter's wife Anne-Marie, Minakis is able draw her to him in Crete with the hope that Peter Slater will follow. Anne-Marie doesn't realize that Minakis has orchestrated her trip to Crete. So in order to get close to him, she poses as a reporter interested in his life story. What follows is primarily a tale of how a disadvantaged boy from the mountains of Crete manages to become a world-renowned physicist.

The author has obviously painstakingly researched the political and social climate of Crete during the appropriate time period. His characters have depth and the story is compelling. However, science plays only a superficial role in the story, making me question whether Secret Passages is best characterized as science fiction.

There are a few compelling moments when the physicists in the story argue about the nature of reality and the philosophical impact of various principles of modern physics. However, it is not until the final few chapters that the author suggests a fictional scientific conclusion to the debate by proposing a brand new technology that could revolutionize the world. Indeed, while the scientific arguments that led to the production of the new technology were intriguing, I was left wishing that the author had addressed the implications and impact that the discovery would have. As it was, I wish the author had spent less time researching the history of Crete and more time writing about the ramifications of the new technology.

If you enjoy historical fiction and are interested in debating the nature of reality using the vocabulary of Quantum Mechanics and other principles of modern physics, Secret Passages may be worth a look.

Copyright © 1997 by Kim Seidman

Kim Seidman has a Master's Degree in Biology and currently works as a full-time mother. She enjoys spending her rare moments of peace and quiet reading a good book. Kim lives with her husband and daughter in Naperville, Illinois.

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