All Cry Chaos, a debut thriller by the immensely gifted Leonard Rosen, is a masterful and gripping tale that literally reaches for the heavens.
The action begins when mathematician James Fenster is assassinated on the eve of a long-scheduled speech at a World Trade Organization meeting. The hit is as elegant as it is bizarre. Fenster’s Amsterdam hotel room is incinerated, yet the rest of the building remains intact. The murder trail leads veteran Interpol agent Henri Poincaré on a high-stakes, world-crossing quest for answers.
Together with his chain-smoking, bon vivant colleague, Serge Laurent, Poincaré pursues a long list of suspects: the Peruvian leader of the Indigenous Liberation Front, Rapture-crazed militants, a hedge-fund director, Fenster’s elusive ex-fiancée, and a graduate student in mathematics. Poincaré begins to make progress in America, but there is a prodigious hatred trained on him—some unfinished business from a terrifying former genocide case—and he is called back to Europe to face the unfathomable. Stripped down and in despair, tested like Job, he realizes the two cases might be connected—and he might be the link.
This first installment in the Henri Poincaré series marries sharp, smart mystery to deep religious themes that will keep both agnostics and believers turning pages until the shattering, revelatory end. Anyone who enjoys the work of John le Carré, Scott Turow, Dan Brown, and Stieg Larsson will relish Rosen’s storytelling and his resourceful, haunted protagonist. Others will appreciate his dazzling prose. Still others, the way he bends the thriller form in unconventional ways toward a higher cause, in the vein of Henning Mankell in The Man from Beijing. In short, All Cry Chaos promises to become a critical success that garners a broad readership throughout the nation and across the globe.
©2011 Leonard Rosen (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Only the very best of writers can weave a compelling story from a maze of complicated ideas, and with this deftly crafted novel, Len Rosen has proven himself to be one of them.” (Arthur Golden, New York Times best-selling author of Memoirs of a Geisha)
Haven't 'read' the book, but the listen was wonderful. Beautifully narrated and I loved the main character, Poincare.
I listen in the car on my way to work and back home. Makes my trips so much easier - in fact, I look forward to these trips!
This is well-written debut by Rosen; he's a very good writer. I enjoyed the intricate characters and the personality of Henri Poincaré, purportedly the great-grandson of his famous namesake. The story is intricate, with many twists and turns. I sort of guessed where things were headed, but the ending is quite preposterous. The mathematician Fenster resembles Benoît Mandelbrot in several respects, both in terms of his topical focus and in terms of his attempts to extend fractals to a comprehensive world view. A scientific world view is not the same as religion, and the conflict between science and religion are not well-drawn.
Grover Gardner does a good job with the voices of the different characters, and I enjoyed his reading.
The denouement was rather disappointing to me, quite unbelievable in its details and philosophically unsatisfactory (and philosophy plays a large role in understanding the motives of the some of the principal actors.)
The relation between science, mathematics, and religion is not well-drawn, yet it plays a big role in undertanding the motivation and behavior of a number of the central characters, although rather incidental to Poincaré himself.
An aside on the science and math described: The reader will get a good sense of the meaning of the notion of fractals and self-similar systems. The notiion that the world is fundamentally fractal is not unprecedented; again, see the writings of Mandelbrot and, more generally, the approach called cellular automata, such as by Wolfram. Scientifically, this has not met with much success.
As an aside, to the extent that the book touches on the work of the famous mathematician whose name the protagonist bears, it is not quite right. Although Poincaré talked about "relativity," (for example, in his 1904 lecture at the St. Louis World's Fare, he clung to Newton's absolute time and the ether concepts and even rejected the implications drawn by Einstein in his famous 1905 paper about "special relativity." Indeed, Poincaré disbelieved E=mc^2. Rosen states that Einstein owed a debt to Poincaré for general relativity (published in its final form in 1916). That is simply not true. In fact, Poincaré did not accept this as the correct theory of gravity. Although incidental to the plot, I was disappointed that the author did not do his homework on these matters.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this book up, but it was actually much better than anticipated. It has quite a noir feel to it: with a troubled main character facing off against great challenges, by himself for the most part. There is a very strong mystery in here, and a great emotional component to top it off.
You'll root for Henri to solve the crime, fix his troubles, and save himself, but you won't know for sure, until the end, whether he suceeds or not. He is a very likeable and relatable main character, and his motivation to solve the mystery stems from a very human place. There is a thread of 'mathematics as the underpinning of reality' (i.e. the existence/origin of everything can be calculated) which could be heavy if you really thought about it, but you're not forced to do so in order to follow the plot - and it does add another little dimension to the story.
All in all, it was a great, suspenseful and compelling crime-mystery novel with a noir-ish setting and a likeable but troubled main character. I am looking forward to the next book to be released in this series (even though this one had no cliff-hanger at all.). The narrator has a distinctive voice which takes time to get used to, but he's very good once you do. The violence isn't gory, there is no sex and not much foul language.
It was compelling and engaging.
The computer password
Narrator was terrific. I would listen to any of his readings.
Enjoyed this from the start to 99.5%. All the realism and complexity was spoiled I thought by the ending. After almost 12 hours of an interesting and realistic yarn - I blurted out "ohh come on!!" I leave it up to others to decide if it suits them.
Unique writing style. The author and characters were previously unknown to me.
Decisions made by main character and why
Yes. Set voice inflection early and maintained same throughout book
Reaction to loss of family members and eventual re healing
Good book, probably better for someone to whom author and character are known
The Inspector is torn between his standards of honorable conduct as an Interpol agent and his desire for revenge for horrific acts of torture and murder committed by those he is tracking.
The characters are believable and the plot well twisted. At times it was difficult to read about the trials of this man and the injury to the innocents around him, and I found myself carrying around a sadness that was difficult to shake. That said, the author was wise enough to let the plot veer away from Poincare's tribulations in time to keep the reader engaged to the end, when the Inspector gets his man and begins to heal.
It has been awhile since I listened. I don't remember the narrator so had to listen to the sample to refresh my memory.
It was a good story that I wanted to listen to until the very end. I guessed some of the twists but didn't mind at all. I was wrong about others and pleasantly surprised. I liked the main character, in all of his complexities, and I look forward to hearing more of his stories. To say more would be a spoiler.
This book is beautifully written, fast moving, funny and sad at times- I hope to read many more from this author.
I enjoyed listening to the book as the reader used well intentioned expression in his voice. He had excellent pronunciation of the French names and he understood the meaning of the book well.
The explosion in the hospital and the lead character's inability to change the outcome. It was both touching and well developed. The lead character was a complex, intelligent man who was both conventional and unconventional in his approach to sorting out this very personal situation.
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