UNIVERSE OF TWO is a novel based on the life of one of the brilliant young physicists who designed and built the atomic bomb, Charlie Fisk. Since this week marks the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and then ending WW11 by dropping a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki on the 9th, I think the pub date is pretty important. But, this novel was due out in May. Pushed back to August by the pandemic, sometimes things are just meant to be.
Stephen P. Kiernan is the author of four novels. I was first introduced to him with THE BAKER’S SECRET. I ve since gone on to sell dozens of copies of that book.
Charlie Fish meets Brenda who will become his wife one day when he wanders into her family’s organ shop. Brenda is a very accomplished organist with a promising career. It’s not love at first sight, though. However…..
When Charlie is whisked off to Los Alamos, New Mexico to work on a top secret affair, their relationship becomes more concrete. Charlie doesn’t know he’s being injected into The Manhattan Project. He stays very unknowing almost until the end. With Brenda’s urging, Charlie becomes the “trigger” man for the project. Brenda has no idea what Charlie’s working on, she just knows he needs to be a man and get this project over with. She has no idea….
The scenes at The Hill where Charlie works on the “gadget” seem quite authentic. The black kitty named Midnight who favored Charlie and slept on his bed worried me. And when Midnight’s lovely black fur began changing color I became almost sick. It made this project very real. I even wonder now how many of the people who worked on this project actually perished later in life because of all that they were subjected to up so close. The reality of this project gleams through in the telling.
Jenna Blum, NYT bestselling of THOSE WHO SAVE US says: ” Stephen Kiernan has pulled off the nearly impossible, reminding us by wrapping a war story in a love story that although we hold the power for our own extinction, we also have the power to redeem, heal, and save. The most tender, terrifying, relevant book you’ll read this year.”
Yes, this is a love story, and at times it seemed almost old fashioned. But that goes with the times, I think. It’s also a story of conscience and redemption. With that being said, I think for a lot of people, this story might make some of this clearer. It’s very timely.
I thank William Morris of Harper Collins for supplying my review copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s a good one to add to your bookclub pile.
Copies of UNIVERSE OF TWO will be available soon at Copperfish books. They’ll be discounted 20%.