Friday, December 17, 2010

The Thousand

The Thousand
by Kevin Guilfoile, August, 2010, Knopf

the lack of a credible villain was an issue but all in all not a bad read

Right up front let me say I will struggle to succinctly summarize this plot and even with my best effort somehow this story will sound way more ridiculous that I actually found it to be. There are a ton of things going on in the narrative. There is Canada Gold, the daughter of a murdered musical genius, who is pursued by an ancient cult of followers of Pythagoras. This cult has survived for thousands of years handing down mathematical knowledge that enables them to cause disasters for profit. The cult (aka The Thousand) is in the midst of an internal war between two factions – acusamati and mathamatici. Canada Gold is a numbers genius further enabled by a wired system installed in her brain that among other things allows her to win money in casinos. Canada is a quirky but likeable character. Her sometime boyfriend Wayne Jennings is obsessed with her and becomes entangled in the murders commissioned by the Thousand. Despite his obsession Wayne is also a very likeable character. There is a Chicago lawyer with an enormous secret. Canada’s estranged mother with her own set of problems and a Chicago detective trying to figure out the whole mess.

While there is no shortage of great characters in this story what there isn’t is any well realized villains. The Thousand are described but none of them are developed into characters that can elicit fear or even mild anxiety. Despite everything this story reads very well. It moves at a fast pace, the subplot of Wayne in pursuit of Canada to help her was good. The ending which includes a terrorist plot that shuts down the electricity in Chicago for five days and a city wide riot as the backdrop to the conclusion provides lots of excitement. I enjoyed this story; I think the lack of a credible villain was an issue that kept me from giving this a higher rating but all in all not a bad read.  If thrillers like this fascinate you, you should check out a forensic pathologist education. 
I read a copy of this book borrowed from the Free Library of Philadelphia


Zibilee said...

Oh my! It does sound like there is a lot going on in this book, but all of it sounds rather intriguing. I hadn't heard of this one yet so I am going to have to see if I can get my hands on a copy. Thanks for the great review!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like a great read to me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.