In Fee’s debut novel, the future of the planet is in peril when all national leaders are unable to awaken from deep dreaming sleep.
In Fee’s 2014, America is led by Republican President Stephen Ashley. When one morning the first lady and White House staffers are unable to wake the president, the nation’s leading neuroscientists and medical analysts are called upon to determine the cause of the president’s steady slumber. Fee introduces readers to an extensive cast of scientists, White House staff, and national leaders. Short chapters switch from character to character, driving a high pace but also making it challenging to keep up with all the men and women and their roles. Dialogue also runs quickly, reading like a political drama TV show: “Phil, what the hell is going on?” “Oh God…no…Stephen…a coma.” Fee paints strong impressions of character credentials in their particular fields of expertise as well as some background on the personal lives of key characters. Physical appearances are rarely described, however, with the exception of pointing out the favorable female attributes as noted by the male characters. In his action-packed dreams, interspersed throughout, the president encounters and bonds with various world leaders as they fight together for survival. Soon, the Americans learn that the leaders of every other nation are in an identical, inexplicable deep sleep. Scientists and medical professionals around the planet work against the clock to identify the cause of this collective dream state before nations are overtaken by opposing forces. Fee’s writing shows off deep research into neurobiology, yet the scientific language may be confusing for readers not up to speed in the subject: “Stage 2 deepens this entire physiological process…a person may experience hypnogogic dreaming at this deepening, which is nothing more than nonsensical imagery.” In fact, as the global tensions tighten, the doctors’ neurobiological findings become progressively complicated. Adding personal drama to the story, it seems there is a spark of chemistry between Dr. Stephanie Angelo and Dr. Jared Faulkner, the main neuroscientists on the case. An abrupt ending arrives after a long lead-up, though there are two more books to come.
Fast-paced political drama featuring an array of characters rooted in well-researched science, which can at times be difficult to keep up with.