Joyce Lagow's Reviews > All Cry Chaos

All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen
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Aug 26, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: kindle-edition, police-procedural
Read from August 26 to September 03, 2011

Henri Poincaré, the great-grandson of the legendary mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré, is an Interpol senior inspector based in Lyons; he has a small farm near the city where he lives with his wife, Claire. His son Etienne, his wife Lucille, and their three children, Georges, Emil and Grandpa’s favorite, Chloe, live in Paris. Henri has recently concluded a case in which he tracked down Stipo Benovic, a genocidal Serbian murderer who was accused of massacring 70 Muslim men and boys in the recent civil war; Poincaré is in The Hague to asusre himself that Benovic is securely in custody. But while there, an explosion surgically rips through the Ambassade Hotel, killing Dr. James Fenster, a Harvard mathematician who is in the Netherlands to give a seminar at the WTO annual meeting. The explosion is so hot that Fenster’s corpse is charred beyond recognition, and identification is made through forensic means. Poincaré takes on the case, since such an explosive is extremely sophisticated and may be the work of terrorists.

But while in The Hague, Poincaré receives word that Benovic has put out word to his organization to target Poincaré’s family. Interpol sets up elaborate security measures for his family, allowing a reluctant Poincaré to pursue the bombing case, which has started to take on puzzling aspects.

So far, this could be the description of any number of international thrillers, such as those that Daniel Silva writes with his protagonist, Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. Plot looks familiar and there is a promise of nice twists.

But Rosen has written a richly complex novel that interweaves such unlikely themes as fractals, an End Times Christian fundamentalist group called Soldiers of the Rapture who think that blowing people up will hasten the End Times by creating the necessary chaos for Christ’s appearance, an indigenous people’s liberation movement headed by a charismatic economist/herder, the functioning of the global economy, philosophy and theology. That’s an impressive list of seemingly unrelated topics but Rosen, in a masterpiece of a debut novel, pulls them all together in an absorbing, compelling story. I defy anyone to resist the fascination of fractals after reading Rosen’s superbly written book.

On top of it all, Rosen’s resolution to the plot opens up, for those of us who are interested in such questions, an interesting concept of God that is without doubt thought-provoking.

All this and a beautifully written, fast-paced thriller as well. Highly recommended.
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