Final Theory

A Novel

Final Theory

Read by: Adam Grupper
Columbia University professor David Swift is called to the hospital to comfort his mentor, a physicist who's been brutally attacked. With his last words, the dying man gives his former pupil a seemingly random string of numbers that could hold the key to Einstein's last and greatest secret. Einheitliche Feldtheorie. The Theory of Everything. Einstein's proposed Unified Theory -- a set of equations that could explain all the forces of nature -- would have revolutionized our understanding of the universe. But Einstein never discovered it. Or did he?

Within hours, David is arrested by the FBI and taken to a secret interrogation center. But the FBI isn't the only faction pursuing Einstein's long-hidden theory. A Russian mercenary wants to force David to talk -- and he will do whatever it takes. On the run for his life, David teams up with an old girlfriend, a brilliant Princeton scientist, and frantically tries to piece together Einstein's final theory to reveal its staggering consequences.
We used E=mc2 to build the atom bomb....What could we do with the key to creation?
Seamlessly weaving real science, history, and politics with an intriguing love story, Final Theory expertly combines fact and fiction with nonstop heart-pounding action in a plot that will have you riveted until its explosive end.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743572248 | 
  • June 2008
List Price $17.95
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Reading Group Guide

For Discussion
1. When David is being interrogated by the FBI immediately after Dr. Kleinman's death, he thinks, "Why should he be responsible for keeping the secret? He hadn't asked for this." Why does David choose not to reveal what he knows to the FBI?
2. Monique and David haven't seen each other in nearly twenty years when he arrives on her doorstep in Princeton. Why does David seek out Monique for help? Why does Monique, in turn, risk her life to aid David? Is it merely academic interest that compels her to accompany him on his dangerous quest, or is there something more?
3. Karen refuses to believe the FBI when they tell her that David is wanted for murder and selling drugs. Given her contentious personal history with David, why does she stand by her ex-husband? What makes her so certain that he's not involved in these illegal activities?
4. Discuss the novel's narrative structure and plotting. Did you guess the identity of Henry Cobb before it was revealed? What did you find to be most compelling about Final Theory -- the action scenes, the characters, the scientific and historical information, or something else entirely?
5. Why do you suppose the author chose to give Simon, a cold-blooded killer-for-hire, such a sympathetic back story? Was he a convincing villain? Did you empathize with him at all, given that he lost his wife and children because of an American military error in Chechnya? Why or why not?
6. David' see more

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About the Author

Mark Alpert
Photograph by Sigrid Estrada

Mark Alpert

A self-described lifelong "science geek," Mark Alpert majored in astrophysics at Princeton University, writing his undergraduate thesis on an application of Einstein's theory of relativity. After earning an MFA in poetry at Columbia and working as a reporter, he became an editor at Scientific American, where he simplifies bewildering scientific ideas for the magazine's readers. Mark lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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