In The Footprints of God, author Greg Iles has combined scientific facts and religion in a most dexterous manner to create a fantastic and horrifyingly believable scenario.
Is David Tennant going mad, is he plain delusional, or is he telling the unvarnished and horrifying truth? These are the questions which race through psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Weiss’ mind when her patient Tennant tells her a fantastic story about an unimaginably fast and powerful supercomputer and the obsessed people behind it.
Professor of Ethics Dr. David Tennant had been appointed by the President of the United States to oversee the ultra-secret Project Trinity, a project that began as a means to build the world’s first and fastest quantum computer. Using the government’s unlimited resources, one of the most influential men in the development of modern-day computers hires some of the top brains in the world, notably Nobel prize winners, to take part in and help develop this unprecedented venture. Using a highly advanced super MRI, the top people in this project including Tennant, are scanned and their neurological models stored for future use by the computer. But as a result of the unusual scanning procedure, they all develop some curious ailment -- narcolepsy in Tennant’s case, in the throes of which he has the most curious and lifelike dreams about the evolution of the universe and more peculiarly, about Jesus.
As Tennant and one other scientist, Andrew Fielding, have some grave concerns over the medical and ethical aspects of the Trinity project and manage to have it suspended. Soon after, Fielding dies and Tennant knows for certain that he was murdered. Now it’s up to Tennant to stop this dangerously ambitious project from ever happening. When it becomes obvious that the scientists themselves have been split apart by greed and megalomania, there is no one except Rachel whom Tennant can trust. Unable to contact the president, Tennant and Rachel are soon on the run as Geli Bauer, Trinity’s beautifully dangerous and highly efficient head of security, deems them a risk that must be eliminated at all costs. But Geli’s not the only opponent they have to face.
Is all this a part of Tennant’s sick paranoiacal delusions or is there some truth to what he claims?
Genetic/quantum/DNA supercomputers – they’ve become the favorite feature around which some of today’s most famous authors have based their latest hi-tech thrillers. What sets Iles’ work apart is the religious aspect of his story that is not only fantastic but which also contains a truth that cannot be denied no matter how fantastic it all seems. This is not a story about computers/secrets being stolen and Rambo-like spies sent to recover it; this story is, in fact, all about the fundamental struggle between man and his greatest enemy -- his own unlimited intelligence -- and the fruit of this intelligence. Iles has even provided God’s perspective on this whole scenario through the character of David Tennant, adding a fresh dimension to the story. The characterizations are in-depth, compelling and authentic. The plot contains plenty of the usual thriller elements such as car chases, disguises, computer hacking, murderous attempts and the expected miraculous escapes of the main protagonists from impossible situations. The theological aspects of The Footprints of God have a surreal feel to them; they’re not exactly preachy nor are they fully believable, yet there is something so basically right about the concept that it all somehow fits beautifully. It is this quality for which Greg Iles is to be lauded and which makes this a book to remember. This fact that this book is based on a strong scientific concept, which has the terrifying prospect of becoming a reality all too soon makes it unbearably effective, exciting as well as bloodcurdling.