Saturday, 11 October 2008

Michael White – “Equinox”

Publ: 2006 ISBN: 13579108642
Rating: ***

Oxford, 2006: a young woman is found brutally murdered, her throat cut. Her heart has been removed and in its place lies an apparently ancient gold coin. Twenty-four hours later, another woman is found. The MO is identical, except that this time her brain has been removed, and a silver coin lies glittering in the bowl of her skull. The police are baffled but when police photographer, Philip Bainbridge and his estranged lover, Laura Niven become involved, they discover that these horrific, ritualistic murders are not confined to the here and now. And a shocking story begins to emerge which intertwines Sir Isaac Newton, one of seventeenth-century England's most powerful figures, with a deadly conspiracy which echoes down the years to the present day, as lethal now as it was then.
I quite enjoyed this book but when I came across an error I got really sidetracked. At least, I think it was an error, if not it really gave the game away. I shan’t tell you about it in case you decide to read this book but it’s in chapter 32!
A couple of quotes – the first being purely educational, but hopefully of interest:-
“Funded by an Act of Parliament in 1838, the Public Records Office is home to some of the most iconic documents ever penned. These include the original Domesday Book, returns from the parliamentary elections of 1275, an inventory of Elizabeth’s jewels, William Shakespeare’s will, the confession of Guy Fawkes, and the minutes of Churchill’s War Cabinet during the Battle of Britain...”
“...anyone who was anyone in Oxford assumed that the only books in Nigel Cunningham’s home were ones that you coloured in.”
“Apparently, glider pilots and balloonists loved flying over the city, not just for the views but because there were always good thermals. The jokey explanation for this was that the thermals were produced from the hot air of the dons, but the real reason was the ubiquitous sandstone which reflected the heat of the sun.”

MICHAEL WHITE was born in Britain but is based in Sydney, Australia. He has been a science editor of British GQ, a columnist for the Sunday Express in London and, in a previous incarnation, he was a member of the Thompson Twins (1982). Between 1984 and 1991 he was a science lecturer at d'Overbroeck's College in Oxford before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of thirty books: These include the international best-sellers, Equinox, Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science, Leonardo: The First Scientist and Tolkien: A Biography.

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