Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled to Britain from Anatolia where his wife Melanie has been killed by insurgent militia. IRGB is a nation living in the aftermath of a bizarre and terrifying terrorist atrocity - hundreds of thousands were wiped out when a vast triangle of west London was instantly annihilated. The authorities think the terrorist attack and the death of Tarent's wife are somehow connected.
A century earlier, a stage magician is sent to the Western Front on a secret mission to render British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy. On his journey to the trenches he meets the visionary who believes that this will be the war to end all wars.
In 1943, a woman pilot from Poland tells a young RAF technician of her escape from the Nazis, and her desperate need to return home.
In the present day, a theoretical physicist stands in his English garden and creates the first adjacency.
THE ADJACENT is a novel where nothing is quite as it seems. Where fiction and history intersect, where every version of reality is suspect, where truth and falsehood lie closely adjacent to one another.
It shows why Christopher Priest is one of our greatest writers.
Priest (The Islanders) mistakes ambiguity for cleverness in this moderately ambitious tale of separated lovers. In a post-climate-change near future, recently widowed English freelance photographer Tibor Tarent returns from war-torn Turkey to find his homeland altered in the wake of a mysterious terrorist attack one that looks eerily similar to the strange event that killed his wife. Both turn out to have been caused by "adjacency technology," which disassembles matter and scatters copies of it through time. Tibor's confused wanderings are intercut with scenes from other timelines, as versions of him and his wife try to find each other. Priest pauses to wax lovingly on vintage war planes and stage magic (recalling his earlier hit, The Prestige). The structure is neat and leads smartly to a surprisingly strong ending, but the plot collapses under the weight of stilted prose ("But physical action is one thing, while silence is a judged opinion") and a thoroughly uninteresting yet inexplicably woman-attracting protagonist.