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Zig Zag: A Novel Hardcover – Mar 29 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Rayo; 1 edition (March 29 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061193712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061193712
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,020,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Somoza (The Art of Murder) combines elements of SF, horror and suspense in an ingenious novel with an original intellectual premise that delivers a megaton of action and adventure. In 2015, Madrid physics teacher Elisa Robledo receives a phone call that plunges her back 10 years to a time when she worked with famous Spanish physicist David Blanes. Blanes theorizes that by using quantum physics and string theory he can build a machine that will enable researchers to see the past. Elisa joins Blanes and a small team of scientists on New Nelson, a mysterious island where they realize all of Blanes's theories. After intriguing glimpses of dinosaurs and Jerusalem during Jesus' lifetime, the project begins to go seriously awry. People die, the lab explodes and in the end everyone is taken away and ordered never to speak to each other again. Then things get really bad. While not quite up to Michael Crichton standard, this page-turner is sure to please thrillers fans. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“It never occurred to me that playing with time could have such terrifying consequences. This novel reveals them all.” (Javier Sierra, author of New York Times Bestselling The Secret Supper)

“Literate, savvy, tense, and thoughtful with plenty of atmosphere. It’s a pleasure to read a Jose Carlos Somoza novel.” (--Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Legacy and The Third Secret)

“Slices like a serrated dagger. Relentlessly paced, fiercely narrated, brilliantly clever,here is a thriller for the new millennium.” (--James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order --James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order)

“Magnificent…belongs on every thriller fan’s must-read list.” (Booklist (starred review))

“An ornate rumination on the razor-thin line between satisfying one’s scientific curiosity and violating the laws of nature.” (Booklist (starred review))

“...A scrupulously researched and terrifying scientific’s impossible not to be hooked.” (Miami Herald)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e9ba240) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e70ecf0) out of 5 stars Part thriller, part science fiction and part horror novel, May 29 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
ZIG ZAG by Jose Carlos Somoza is one of the most unusual works I've read this year. Part thriller, part science fiction and part horror novel, it dips and swirls through and around these genres, creating a modern morality and cautionary tale.

Though in his acknowledgments Somoza denies wanting to write a scholarly work on string theory, he does such an excellent job of explaining this fascinating branch of physics that even someone like me, whose knowledge of that science is limited to the effects of gravity, can understand what's happening. What kept me reading, even through the occasional and relatively rare obtuse periods that run through the book, was the fact that, almost from the beginning, it scared the pants off me without producing a real live bogeyman until close to two-thirds of the way through.

ZIG ZAG moves back and forth in time, covering a 10-year period beginning in 2005 and ending in 2015. The focal point of the novel consists of a complicated but intriguing physics experiment dealing with time. Time travel to the past, at least at this point, is considered to be impossible. What a team of scientists attempts to do is to view events of the past in real time rather than visit them, utilizing the string theory. The experiment, known as Zig Zag, is financed by a somewhat shadowy, not entirely benevolent child of the so-called military-industrial complex, which is interested in the results for possible national security applications.

There is also a strong interest in keeping the scientists under observation because of the concern that viewing the past in real time may well result in some sort of unfortunate after-effect upon the observers. And indeed, that is exactly what happens, though not precisely for the reasons originally under consideration. The scientists implementing Zig Zag find themselves dealing with the sudden manifestation of a dark, deadly apparition of unknown origin.

Suffice to say that the members of the team suddenly and inexplicably find themselves marked for death. Over a 10-year period they are horrifically and, as we shall see, impossibly slaughtered one by one. Somoza perhaps is not a literary writer, but he is a riveting storyteller and his plot is the work of genius. Just when one thinks that things can't get worse, they do. And don't think for a minute that things are going to get better.

Somoza writes like the product of a mad collaboration between Shirley Jackson and Michael Crichton, with a bit of Thomas Harris thrown in for good measure. After reading ZIG ZAG, you won't know whether to sleep with the lights on or off. You won't know precisely what I mean by that until you read this tale of the ultimate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e057114) out of 5 stars An absolute page-turner! April 3 2007
By Timothy Schott - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is always a wonderful feeling knowing you are reading a book without even thinking about the actual reading. You feel immersed in the book. You're standing there alongside the characters, contemplating the issues at hand. Waiting, wondering, hoping that they succeed in their tasks. Zig Zag will have you forgetting where all the pages went.

A non-stop, adrenaline-rushing novel from start to finish. The book gravitates around physics, but does not require any knowledge of supersymmetry, branes, or any other terms you are probably not accustomed with. The details are in the book, and the details are mouth-watering. The implications the characters face are serious. Extraordinary, even. Zig Zag is translated from the Spanish, but you would not guess it. The writing is superb and spot on. The suspense is mind-numbing. The 500+ pages are gone before you know it. Fortunately, it's a novel that will stay with you. Once you close the book, you'll smile knowing that Zig Zag is one you're going to be recommending.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e05718c) out of 5 stars Great premise but no great payoff in the end Oct. 27 2007
By Latent - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As it has been said in other reviews here, the book starts with a great premise dealing with Time Strings and the way they work. The buildup to the moment when the scientists see the past is great but when it actually happens it's not really satisfying. Things are not really described well or with enough detail, this amazing discovery is now a terrible thing but we don't get much information why until later, which is a let down.

Then the horror aspect of the book kicks in and we spend too much time reading about the imminent danger the characters are in but get no payoff, even a small one, to keep us interested. This situation repeats over and over again, danger is coming, tension builds, and then we get something like "...and then things went terribly wrong." We have to wait a while to get to any of it. This way of building suspense just didn't work for me after a while.

I have to also agree with the criticism of the use of the "italic" font. It's not a good choice and hard to read.
Overall the concept of Time Strings is fantastic and it would have been great to explore it more, but the constant references to the main character's "hotness" and the constant "cliffhangers" every time the action picks up just made want to find out the mystery of the story and move on.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e05751c) out of 5 stars Still contemplating this story! March 4 2007
By David J. Ross - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book still has me contemplating the themes addressed. It is very fast-paced with plenty of mystery and thrilling situations! I highly recommend this book. Jose Carlos Somoza has you wondering at every turn of the page how the story could unfold. At each turn you find the story unfolding in unexpected and delightful ways! This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys astrophysics, science fiction, mystery and thrillers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e057654) out of 5 stars Some good writing but long flashback drained much of the suspense June 27 2007
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Scientist Elisa Robledo put on a mask of being normal. She did her job, taught her students, went through the motions of being a member of the University community. But something set her apart. The others recognized this--but thought the beautiful woman was simply shy or cold. Only the surviving members of the Zig Zag community knew that she was different for another reason. She had seen things that humans were not meant to see.

As a new graduate, Elisa had been chosen to attend a special seminar dealing with practical applications of string theory. A scientist had proposed that relatively low energies could allow scientists to open one of the many extra dimensions string theory is certain exists--specifically, time. Using special equipment, scientists could capture photons and unwrap them, viewing anything that photon had seen throughout its history. A photon captured at the Pyramids of Egypt could, possibly, reflect not only the current pyramids, but their entire history, even their construction. Project Zig Zag is designed to explore this possibility--with a look at the crucifixion of Jesus high on the list.

Author Jose Carlos Somoza starts off his story with a bang. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and dramatic tension as Elisa realized that her carefully constructed and artificial reality had shattered and as she attempted to come to terms with the new reality. For me, though, the story slows dramatically when Elisa relates her history to her semi-friend Victor. We already know that Elisa survived the mess on New Nelson, which dramatically reduces any sense of tension during the flashbacks that constitute the bulk of the book.

Although authors are certainly allowed to take liberties with science to make a good story, I had a hard time suspending disbelief over Somoza's photon theory. I'm prepared to believe that a photon could carry, in some dimensional sense, its entire history with it. Even with this, imagine a photon generated by the sun's energy a few minutes ago, hitting Jersulem this instant, bouncing off (say) calgary hill and captured in a video camera, In what sense would this photon contain in it any history of some other photon that hit the same calgary hill two thousand years previously, was never captured by camera, and is now, presumably, some two thousand light years from earth (unless it was absorbed in some object, sucked into a black hole, or otherwise destroyed?) The science part of the story has a lot of potential, but it just didn't jell for me.

Somoza delivers a high-potential SF thriller that, I think, falls short of its promise. Too bad because this guy clearly can write.