THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A visionary and powerful debut thriller set in a terrifyingly plausible dystopian near-future—with clear parallels to today's headlines—in which the future of humanity lies in the hands of one woman, a scientist who has stumbled upon a secret that the government will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
A world half in darkness. A secret she must bring to light.
It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet's rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain—lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight—where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world.
Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts—and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation's fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.
Murray's impressive eye for detail compensates for the scientifically preposterous premise of his debut. When a "rogue" white dwarf star passed dangerously close to Earth, it left the planet half scorched in sunlight and half frozen in darkness, with humanity barely hanging on in the dim zone between the extremes. Forty years after the disaster, dubbed "the Stop," Britain, in the middle zone, has descended into fascism. Depressed scientist Dr. Ellen Hopper conducts oceanic research on a rig in the North Sea, despite feeling her work is pointless. When Hopper is summoned to the deathbed of her Oxford mentor, Edward Thorne, a government scientist responsible for the deaths of countless refugees after the Stop, she catches wind of a secret that could spell further disaster for humankind. To save what's left of the world, Hopper launches an investigation into the government secret, rediscovering her hope for humanity along the way. Murray's despairing characters are convincing and his descriptions of the broken Earth are vivid, but his apocalypse is too conceptually contrived to be believable. Readers will easily invest in Hopper's mission, but will struggle to buy into Murray's vision of the future.