Alternate-reality sci-fi thriller from the underrated author of Gardens of the Sun (2010), which first appeared in Britain in 2007.
In the 1960s, an alternate America, which calls itself the Real invented a device known as a Turing Gate that gave access to other realities. The government set up the Company to use such gates to spread, by all available means including war, subversion and power politics, democracy and Real American values to other less ideal versions of America. Finally, however, the price Real America paid proved too high, and new President Jimmy Carter halted the program against bitter Company opposition. Retired operative Adam Stone responds when asked to bring in his supposedly dead former comrade, Tom Waverly, who has embarked on a murderous rampage across different realities. Aided by Waverly's daughter, Linda, Adam tracks Tom down, only to find he's dying of radiation poisoning. Tom, quite unapologetic over the murders, hints at a deadly conspiracy and claims to have a plan to make everything right. Linda and Stone discover they've stumbled into a deep black op, GYPSY, run by renegade Company operatives, whose stated aim is to make America triumphant in all realities. And, according to Tom, GYPSY has acquired a time travel device. Tom, though, clearly has his own competing agenda, and Stone doesn't believe him or trust him at all. So, does all this add up? Well, what with all the theories and extrapolations, headlong pace and tantalizing glimpses of what-if realities lurking in back, it's hard to say.
Not McAuley's best, but exciting enough to keep the thriller crowd on board.