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The Breach    by Patrick Lee order for
by Patrick Lee
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2010 (2010)
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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Patrick Lee's The Breach (first in a series) is a most unusual and extraordinarily fast paced mix of horror and science fiction, chock full of violence and surprises.

It begins in the Alaskan wilderness, where ex-cop Travis Chase (recently released from a prison term that consumed 'half of his twenties and all of his thirties') is back-country hiking and pondering his future. He's shocked and horrified when he stumbles upon a crashed 747 filled with corpses (each of them shot) including the U.S. First Lady. What was she doing on the plane and why is no one at the scene?

The 747 is filled with instrument stations and a steel cube labelled 'Breach Entity 0247 - "Whisper"'. As she lay dying, the First Lady scribbled instructions - to kill the two captives taken by hostiles (who would remain encamped nearby) and to contact an organization named Tangent. Seeking the hostiles, Travis comes upon a torture scene from a horror movie. He saves a badly injured Paige Campbell, and as they escape, she explains what pursues them.

In the 70s, a Very Large Ion Collider experiment created the Breach, through which come a steady stream of entities, applications of technologies 'as far ahead of us as we are of Java man.' Tangent was set up by world governments to guard the Breach, study the entities, and deal with any ticking bombs that come through. The seductive Whisper, the most dangerous arrival to date knows everything, can influence humans who touch it to do its will, and pursues its own mysterious agenda.

The Whisper was being transported to a place of safety when its flight was re-routed and crashed in Alaska by 'a dark twin to Tangent', run by ex-Tangent founder Aaron Pilgrim. Unfortunately Pilgrim controls other very frightening entities. From Alaska to Wyoming to Zurich and back again to the United States, Travis and Paige race to save the world - and to understand what Aaron Pilgrim and the Whisper are after.

Patrick Lee has set up a puzzling and intriguing premise in The Breach, along with a mystifying quest for his antihero, an essentially good man with a bad upbringing. Though this first episode ended with some answers for Travis Chase, it also posed another big - and disturbing - question, to be addressed in the sequel, Ghost Country. I can't wait!

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