THE THOUSAND by Kevin Guilfoile


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A conspiracy novel from Guilfoile (Cast of Shadows, 2005) involving intellectual descendants of Greek philosopher Pythagoras, a group called the Thousand.

At the heart of the book is Canada Gold, whose name is evocatively shortened to “Nada.” Her father, Solomon, had been an award-winning composer who was rumored to have completed Mozart’s Requiem before his untimely murder ten years before. Solomon himself had been accused of killing Erica Liu, a promising young cellist with whom he was having an affair. Flamboyant attorney Reggie Vallentine got Solomon acquitted for that crime but also carried with him a terrible secret—that he, Reggie, was in fact the murderer of Solomon. A short time after his acquittal, Erica’s unstable father killed Gold in revenge and then shot himself. This is all back story to Nada’s uncanny ability to count cards in Vegas—and perhaps to read minds as well. She’s had a surgical implant of an electronic device she calls “the spider” that gives her almost superhuman, certainly hypersensitive gifts. (It turns out her father had had the same implant, and this is what allowed him to complete the Requiem.) Entrepreneur and art collector Gary Jameson learns about Nada’s powers and wants help in deciphering a set of tiles being produced by Patrick Blackburn, also known as a crazed artist named Burning Patrick and recipient of a device similar to that implanted in Nada. The person responsible for these implants, a doctor/mathematician named Marlena Falcone, has just been murdered, and by the same weapon that had killed Gold. It turns out the Thousand have been split into two violently oppositional groups: the mathematici, who would commit violence to extend their right to use the knowledge handed down to them, and the acusmatici, headed by a brilliant but eccentric sheik, who would commit violence to keep this knowledge hidden.

Arcane and muddled, and more evidence of the influence that The Da Vinci Code has had on commercial fiction.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4000-4309-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2010