fighting the lack of good ideas

the secret fire by martin langfield

I had high hopes for Martin Langfield’s book, The Secret Fire when I purchased it several months ago. The cover headline reads, “the world is under threat… from a weapon launched in 1944”. Sounded good.

The back cover, likewise, sounded pretty good, too:

Sotheby’s, London, 1936

A paper by Sir Isaac Newton is sold at auction to a bookseller’s agent, and within minutes of leaving the auction house he is killed and the paper stolen. For the Nazis are desperate to get their hands on a Newton formula that will unleash the Secret Fire – a weapon beyond all imagining that can wipe their enemies off the face of the earth. And this document is the key … unless the French Resistance and SOE operatives also on its trail can stop them.

Good so far, no? Who doesn’t like some WWII conspiracy craziness? (Though why this “Newton formula” is a secret and not widely known after 300 years is up for intellectual consideration.)

New York, 2007. Katherine Reckliss learns her grandmother’s SOE radio has started picking up disturbing messages from occupied France, warning that a V1 containing the Secret Fire is being launched by the Nazis. Its target? Present day London.

Here I should have had my suspension of disbelief brought into question, but I bought the book anyway.

So begins the desperate race to halt the Secret Fire – both in 1940s Nazi-occupied France and modern-day London. The clock is ticking as history starts to re-write the future in a new and terrifying script …

Alright – so parallel universes can work. So can time travel. So can parallel universes talking to each other. (Anyone see the movie Frequency or The One?)

However, psychics, random “Enemies”, spirits from alternate worlds, and other aspects of the book of which I was not aware when I bought it have done this one in for me. I got a couple pages in, hoping it would improve, and it has not. So I am doing something very rare for me and throwing it out. I can’t recommend this to anyone, personally.

  • Quality of writing: 1/5
  • Entertainment value: 0/5
  • Story engagement: 0/5
  • Overall: 0/5