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The Rising

TITLE: THE RISING Author: Heather Graham & Jon Land Publisher: Tor Books Genre: Thriller ISBN: 978-0-7653-3791-7 Rating: Five (5) Stars (Out of Five) Review When I first heard of this collaboration between authors Heather Graham and Jon Land I was filled with anticipation. Graham is the author of more than one hundred novels and Land has been putting out solid thrillers for decades highlighted by the terrific series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. Authors who write in different genres could find it difficult to blend their talents and ideas into a cohesive story. I am pleased to say this is not the case with THE RISING. In what I hope will be the first in a new series, THE RISING features a teen-aged high school football star who has nothing but sunny days ahead of him --- or so he thinks. Instantly, THE RISING called to mind some of the earlier work of Dean Koontz that mixed together young people, clandestine government agencies, fiendish killers and a dark secret tying everything together. In the Graham/Land story our hero is Alex Chin, the blonde-haired adopted son of Asian-American parents who lives outside of San Francisco, California. Everything seems to be going great for Alex and his most vexing task is to decide which college scholarship he should accept. Alex's world is going to get really complex very quickly. The secret to this tale is peeled back layer by layer and glimmers of the story's scope can be found in flashbacks that go back eighteen years. NASA's Thomas Donati uncovers a series of apparently random events that, when combined, could threaten the space time continuum. Trust me, this is a much more serious issue than what Marty McFly and Doc Brown faced in "Back To the Future". The present day tale rolls out as part of a diary --- the author of which is not revealed until much later in the story. The one point the diarist stresses is that what will unfold is not a story. It appears that playing free safety (my former position) for his High School football team is far from the most dangerous thing Alex will face. In one particular game he suffers a brutal injury and seems to all but walk away from it. Hmm... Later on, his adopted parents are victims of a home invasion where the invaders claim they are seeking something that was taken from them eighteen years earlier and demand to know where Alex is. Things transpire very quickly in this novel and we soon find Alex and his new best friend, a highly intelligent nerdist girl named Sam, on the run from the people who want Alex and appear to have wiped out his family. Alex's adopted mother took the time to leave a dying message for him in blood that read: GET ALEX RUN. Alex and Sam take off and go after answers as to why Alex is in wanted by some very dangerous people all the while attempting to stay out of their grasps. One astonishing thing they uncover is the bizarre premise that Alex may not be human. Some of the answers are found when our dynamic duo meet up with a man named Raiff who may have something in common with Alex. At the risk of spoiling any of the myriad of revelations found in this story let me just say that readers are going to learn more about wormholes, folding space and time travel then they knew about these subjects prior to starting THE RISING. THE RISING is an astonishing literary event with the type of break-neck, adrenalin-fueled plot that calls to mind great Sci-Fi/Thriller cross-overs that are all too rare these days. In Alex Chin we have one of the more complex protagonists in recent memory and readers will find themselves rooting for him while trying to catch their breath as he goes through one dangerous situation after another. With a tip of the hat to classic television series like The Outer Limits, THE RISING begs for a sequel. The novel opens with a quote from the philosopher Seneca that reads: "Sometimes even to live is an act of courage". Alex Chin goes through many changes during the course of this story and that quote accurately sums up his existence and purpose. Reviewed by Ray Palen

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