Though 1993’s The Cassandra Prophecy featured mere murder and drug smuggling, ever-brilliant Wilson’s more recent thrillers have given their action sequences a titillating grounding in future science, as in Donor (nerve regenerating) and Embryo (Gestation outside the womb). The main gimmick this time out anticipates a recent New York Times article about future nannocomputers that can be reduced to the size of a blood cell and introduced into the human body. Wilson’s ever-active intelligence community has invented a tiny computer chip that can be implanted directly into the brain, allowing various recipients (whose new mental powers and funds of information have been increased exponentially) to be fully aware of what their fellow chippees are doing and thinking—creating a Monad, a minor mind of a God. When five poorly chosen volunteer chippees (four men and one woman, all criminals) pool their resources, they come up with a game plan to take over the world powers and run things their way. The intelligence community, naturally, rises up in righteous indignation to fight these superpredators. The battle seems hopeless, with mere human researchers fighting the products of their best efforts. But as luck would have it, one chippee riding a motorcycle is hit by a truck, and he keeps waking and dying on his way to the morgue, alerting the medical pathologist who examines him to find a chip one quarter the width of a pencil in the dead man’s brain—which means, by thriller standards, the examiner must be murdered. These two deaths eventually involve young Dr. Spence Stevens, still another visionary who is working on an artificial retina for the blind. One wonders: Will the good Doctor Spence himself have to be implanted and engeniused to fight the villains? If so, what a wonderful battle. Smart, fast, and full of enough slaps on the cheek to keep you awake half the night.