Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sleeping Giants

By Sylvain Neuvel

Little Rose was out playing when she fell into a deep hole. She was discovered laying in a giant metal hand. The hand is quickly commandeered by the US military. Rose grows up to become a physicist.
The hand is impervious to investigation and it is put away and forgotten. That is until the forearm is discovered in the Middle East many years later. So the race is on to find more pieces and to try and figure out the origin and purpose of the giant statue. Coincidentally, Rose is the team leader.
Pieces are found scattered all over the world and once assembled, it forms a statue of a giant alien woman. She bears a shield and sword and her torso contains a cockpit with mechanisms to control the statue and its weaponry. Rose's team has the job of trying to figure out how to pilot the giant vehicle and decode the alien language. They do so in a huge compound underneath the Denver, Colorado airport.
The statue has strange controls that require two people to operate, one to pilot the upper body and one to pilot the lower body. One day, the two pilots are fooling around with the statue and accidentally activate some of its defensive systems, resulting in the destruction of part of the airport and the loss of several lives and also exposing the statue to the eyes of the world.
This causes an international crisis, especially as various nations realize that parts of the statue were stolen from their lands. To placate an irate world, the statue is dumped into a deep canyon in the depths of the ocean.
But of course, it is not destined to remain buried in the ocean.

This was a pretty good story. But there were lots of coincidences, like Rose being the team leader and the accident that permits one of the pilots perform his job better, which I found that a bit off-putting. The story is told in a series of reports, interviews, diaries and letters, which was a pretty interesting way to tell the story.
This is the first book in a new series, The Themis Files. Apparently, it is also being made into a movie.
For more see, NPR

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