Synopsis: Walter is a young Australian who comes to England (falling in love with a beautiful and feisty schoolteacher on the boat journey) to follow his dream of being a scientist at the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge. There he falls under the spell of the charismatic scientists involved in splitting the atom and the other experiments that eventually led to the building of the atomic bomb. In 1945, in London, an older, disillusioned Walter struggles to keep his marriage together and to come to terms with what he – as a pacifist – saw as a terrible betrayal by his mentors and his best friend Alan Nunn May. Meanwhile, Nunn May is back in London, keeping a low profile and being shadowed by a rather inept and unenthusiastic spy. Walter is the only person Alan has seen since his return and so unwittingly, he and his family fall under surveillance too…The story that unfolds is an engrossing tale of friendship and betrayal, of forgiveness and enduring love and of the dangerous burden of scientific knowledge.
Published: October 2002 | ISBN-13: 978-0340824221
Mini-bio: Her first novel, The Cloud Chamber, was described by the Observer as ‘part spy story, part scientific thriller, part romance’. Based on the scientific discoveries behind the development of the atomic bomb, it drew on her own family history as the daughter and granddaughter of nuclear physicists. Her second novel, The Evangelist, is about a popular scientist who finds it impossible to believe that he is ever wrong. – From David Higham
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