From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author comes a cutting-edge new thriller rich with imagination and vision.
In the heart of North Carolina's Research Triangle stands a corporate laboratory much like the others nearby. But behind its walls, America's top scientists work around the clock to attain the holy grail of the twenty-first century -- a supercomputer that surpasses the power of the human mind.
Appointed by the president as ethicist to Project Trinity, Dr. David Tennant finds himself in a pressure cooker of groundbreaking science and colossal ambition. When his friend and fellow scientist is murdered, David discovers that the genius who runs Project Trinity was responsible and that his own life is in danger. Unable to reach the president, and afraid to trust his colleagues, David turns to Rachel Weiss, the psychiatrist probing the nightmares that have plagued him during his work at Trinity. Rachel is skeptical of David's fears, but when an assassin strikes, the two doctors must flee for their lives.
Pursued across the globe by ruthless National Security Agency operatives, David and Rachel struggle to piece together the truth behind Project Trinity and the enormous power it could unleash upon the world. As constant danger deepens their intimacy, Rachel realizes the key to Trinity lies buried in David's disturbed mind. But Trinity's clock is ticking...
Mankind is being held hostage by a machine that cannot be destroyed. Its only hope -- a terrifying chess game between David and the Trinity computer, with the cities of the world as pawns. But what are the rules? How human is the machine? Can one man and woman change the course of history? Man's future hangs in the balance, and the price of failure is extinction.
Considered one of the most insightful and ingenious of the new generation of bestselling authors, Greg Iles has written a thriller that maps the fascinating territory where science and spirit clash in a battle for the future of humanity. Stunning in its scope, The Footprints of God is a brilliant realization of its author's talent.
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August 12, 2003
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Excerpt from The Footprints of God by Greg Iles
My name is David Tennant, M.D. I'm professor of ethics at the University of Virginia Medical School, and if you're watching this tape, I'm dead."
I took a breath and gathered myself. I didn't want to rant. I'd mounted my Sony camcorder on a tripod and rotated the LCD screen in order to see myself as I spoke. I'd lost weight over the past weeks. My eyes were red with fatigue, the orbits shiny and dark. I looked more like a hunted criminal than a grieving friend.
"I don't really know where to begin. I keep seeing Andrew lying on the floor. And I know they killed him. But...I'm getting ahead of myself. You need facts. I was born in 1961 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. My father was James Howard Tennant, the nuclear physicist. My mother was Ann Tennant, a pediatrician. I'm making this tape in a sober state of mind, and I'm going to deposit it with my attorney as soon as I finish, on the understanding that it should be opened if I die for any reason.
"Six hours ago, my colleague Dr. Andrew Fielding was found dead beside his desk, the victim of an apparent stroke. I can't prove it, but I know Fielding was murdered. For the past two years, he and I have been part of a scientific team funded by the National Security Agency and DARPA -- the government agency that created the Internet in the 1970s. Under the highest security classification, that team and its work are known as Project Trinity."
I glanced down at the short-barreled Smith & Wesson .38 in my lap. I'd made sure the pistol wasn't visible on camera, but it calmed me to have it within reach. Reassured, I again stared at the glowing red light.
"Two years ago, Peter Godin, founder of the Godin Supercomputing Corporation, had an epiphany much like that mythical moment when an apple dropped onto Isaac Newton's head. It happened in a dream. Seemingly from nowhere, a seventy-year-old man visualized the most revolutionary possibility in the history of science. When he woke up, Godin telephoned John Skow, a deputy director of the NSA, in Fort Meade, Maryland. By six A.M., the two men had drafted and delivered a letter to the president of the United States. That letter shook the White House to its foundations. I know this because the president was my brother's close friend in college. My brother died three years ago, but because of him, the president knew of my work, which is what put me in the middle of all that followed."
I rubbed the cool metal of the .38, wondering what to tell and what to leave out. Leave out nothing, said a voice in my head. My father's voice. Fifty years ago, he'd played his own part in America's secret history, and that burden had greatly shortened his days. My father died in 1988, a haunted man, certain that the Cold War he'd spent his youthful energy to perpetuate would end with the destruction of civilization, as it so easily could have. Leave out nothing....