By Robert J. Sawyer
Ace, $25.95, 340 pages
The United States is under siege by terrorists. While preparations for a counteroffensive are laid, the president is struck down. As he’s rushed to the nearest hospital for surgery, a scientist begins an experimental treatment to ease the traumatic memories of a PTSD-afflicted soldier. But when a bomb destroys the White House and the ensuing electromagnetic pulse affects the experiment, it triggers an impossible side effect: people begin to share the memories of others — including the president. And secrets have a way of getting out.
I admit, I was a bit dubious when I read the book jacket teaser of Sawyer’s latest, Triggers, but I should have known better. Robert J. Sawyer’s greatest gift always has been his ability to incorporate the human element into stories about complex scientific ideas, and Triggers is one of his most emotional and successful to date.
While the hunt for the person possessing the president’s memories is interesting, it holds a distant second place to the enthralling exploration of how this accident has linked the lives of these people. Learning their backstories and watching the consequences unfold is a genuine treat. Despite the near-dystopian setting, Triggers is haunting in its optimism. It was a joy to read.
Reviewed by Glenn Dallas