Algorithm by Arthur M. Doweyko

Goodreads badgePublished: 1st October 2014
Publisher: E-Lit Books
Pages: 448
Format: ebook
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

A story that spans decades, ALGORITHM first takes readers back to the summer of 1979 as we meet Adam, a 13-year-old boy fascinated by a mysterious lump of coal with a gold medallion at its core. Despite his best efforts to understand its origins on his own, he ends up with few answers. His curiosity does, however, compel him to learn more about archaeology and living organisms, and eventually to become a bio-organic chemistry professor.

As the narrative leaps forward to Adam as an adult, the protagonist, now armed with years of scientific knowledge, revisits the marvelous artifact and learns that it may date back more than a hundred million years. When a random explosion at the lab threatens to destroy it, Adam becomes more determined than ever to understand its significance. 

With Linda, head of the Human Genome Project at their college, by his side Adam embarks on an action-packed adventure that takes the two from their lab to an abandoned coal mine. Meticulously following each lead, the pair encounters all kinds of trouble: the authorities, enigmatic beings and, finally an unplanned trip into space. Face to face with their darkest fears, and narrowly escaping death, the two begin to question everything they once held dear — science, humanity, faith and even DNA.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

The story Doweyko’s created is one that is filled with questions that humanity has been wondering about since they first looked at the stars: where did we come from and why are we here? With a combination of reality, fact, and the creativity of science fiction, Doweyko offers up a creative and intriguing answer to these questions.

Told in two parts, Algorithm follows Adam, a boy who discovers a medallion in a piece of coal, who uses his curiosity about the piece and grows up to be a scientist interested in archaeology and living organisms. When mysterious things begin to happen that seem to be connected to the medallion, Adam and colleague Linda are thrown into a world of secrets, wonder, and dangers they are not prepared for. With their scientific curiosity guiding them they embark on a journey for answers, and to escape those who are after the mysterious medallion, and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

While the story is told in two parts, and despite being very different from one another, they are also connected. They are their own stories in a way, but the second part still refer back to the previous events. I liked the way Doweyko concluded the first part, it was suitable and rounded off the story so far very well. With the narrative clearly moving in a different direction for the second part there was a need to conclude what had gone before, something Doweyko has achieved as there is a clear sense of one stage finishing, while another one is just beginning.

The second part is slower in terms of narrative and pace than the first, but it still keeps its mysterious elements, albeit on a different level. It keeps you wondering and guessing as many things are possible and there is always a chance of the unexpected. The main theme of part two is mystery and uncertainty, away from the ongoing action, but not without its own drama. Trying to anticipate what will happen does not always work as just when you think you have worked out where the story is going it changes course. Instead you go along with an uncertainty but slightly intrigued to know where the story will go next.

There is an element of truth that Doweyko uses such as real disasters and a base in real scientific fact which makes certain aspects of this story really interesting as you learn about DNA and the sequence that makes up human kind. This, coupled with the science fiction element, works well as each aspect supports the other and enhances the nature of the story.

The characters are likeable, and most are given a small history into who they are and what their past is. This is kept to a minimum though with Adam being the most detailed, but you also get a sense of who the other characters are as well and Doweyko incorporates this information into the narrative well.

I want to say I enjoyed the first part over the second, but I think being so different it is hard to compare. As a whole I liked the story, and I think the involvement and interest in the first half is different than the curiosity and the intrigue in the second. While the first part offered a bit faster paced and almost nonstop action, the second focused on solving the mystery that was underlying the first part so you cannot really compare them adequately.

Overall the story is interesting and well written and the concept is detailed, with the right balance between reality and science fiction to make it believable as an idea. There is a risk of becoming a bit confused towards the end of the book as it all comes together, but the information and explanations are there to help make sense of what is happening if you pay attention. Algorithm is a story that demonstrates that seemingly innocent and exciting adventures may be anything but, and can also be so much more than you have ever imagined.