Swedish scriptwriter Olsson’s first novel amps up the action via a doomsday scenario set in Europe.
William Sandberg, a retired Swedish cryptologist, tries to kill himself but is thwarted by his vigilant former wife, prominent newspaper executive Christina. Christina worries that her ex-husband is planning another go at it, but before he can try, he's abducted from the hospital, installed on a private plane and flown to an unknown destination. When he awakens, he finds himself in a chateau with an eclectic group including Janine Haynes, a brilliant doctoral candidate studying ancient codes, Connors, an enigmatic British military man, and a contingent of unsmiling guards. Sandberg is given a mysterious code to break, but Connors and his other captors refuse to provide all the details he needs. After a series of alarming revelations and much personal upheaval, William and Janine, who was also abducted, discover the unsettling, mind-boggling truth about what their real task is and come to some staggering conclusions. Although time is running out for the human race, they rush to find a solution despite ever dwindling options and the prospect of certain disaster. On the minus side, Olsson crams the book full of annoying one-sentence paragraphs, adds the popular action-novel device of ending each chapter on a cliffhanger, and obfuscates the storyline with a confusing explanation of why the kidnappers chose their particular course of action. On the plus side, Olsson lines up a sympathetic and well-developed cast of characters, inserts them into some interesting places, and allows very few dull moments, especially once the action really gets rolling.
An end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it thriller featuring two unlikely, but very likable, protagonists.