Final Theory Cover

"GOD DOESN'T PLAY DICE, Einstein famously declared, but publishers take a gamble all the time. Especially if they think they might have a new blockbuster on their hands.

Mark Alpert was a physics graduate who decided he would prefer to write poetry and ended up in journalism instead as an editor at Scientific American, where his job is to explain bewildering ideas in terms comprehensible to the layman. Which is a kind of poetry in its own right.

Final Theory is a book that takes big science - and cosmology is as big as it gets - and weaves a populist read around it. Alpert posits that Albert Einstein, here referred to as Herr Doktor by his former students, actually achieved his life's ambition: to discover a unified theory of everything..." Read the Full Review

—Peter Millar, The Times, June 2008

"Alpert's exciting debut takes the premise that Albert Einstein succeeded in discovering a unified field theory, but hid the result, fearing it could lead to weapons far more powerful than the atom bomb. In the present day, several contenders — the U.S. government, a savage mercenary bent on revenge, various scientists — all scramble to uncover the theory. Theoretical physicist Hans Kleinman, once one of Einstein's assistants, is tortured by an intruder who demands he divulge the theory. Columbia University professor David Swift is at Kleinman's bedside when the old man makes a few cryptic statements, imparts a string of numbers and then dies. Soon David is off and running for his life, as all the theory seekers give chase. David stays one step ahead with the help of the beautiful Monique Reynolds, another physicist. Alpert, a Scientific American columnist, sticks to proper thriller structure while imparting interesting and accessible science. The relentless action, including one giant twist and plenty of smaller ones, builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion."

Publishers Weekly, June 2008
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"Although David Swift wanted to become a scientist like his beloved professor, Dr. Hans Kleinman, he couldn't manage the math. Instead, he wrote a best-selling book about Albert Einstein. Now Swift is shocked to learn that his elderly mentor has been brutally tortured. With his dying breaths, Kleinman tells Swift that, contrary to common knowledge, Einstein did complete his unified field theory, but the consequences were so catastrophic, he kept it secret. Now the feds and the sadistic Chechnyan who attacked Kleinman will do anything to secure Einstein's secret formula. Accordingly, Swift must live up to his name, outrun his vicious assailants, and find Einstein's hidden notebooks. With the help of cool-under-pressure Monique Reynolds, a resourceful African American physicist, Swift leads a wildly choreographed chase. Alpert, an editor for Scientific American, laces his high-IQ doomsday thriller with clearly explicated and hauntingly beautiful scientific theories and delivers readers to such intriguing locations as Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. An ingenious scientist turned evil mastermind, a snake handler, a stripper, a video-game-obsessed autistic teen, and sly digs at a certain presidential administration add up to a strikingly sweet-natured yet satisfyingly barbed high-tech, high-stakes adventure."

—Donna Seaman, Booklist Starred Review, May 2008