This is a strange, haunting and completely addictive read. It is set in the late Victorian era, in the Egyptian desert, but it is also science fiction. If Jules Verne had decided to write about British colonialists trying to communicate with Mars, this would be the book.

Sanford Thayer has convinced the best minds in science, politics and trade that the striations visible on Mars are constructed canals and therefore sentient beings live on the Red Planet. Furthermore, he thinks it is essential for humans to send a message to them. He calculates the best view of Earth from Mars and heads up a massive excavation in the Egyptian desert. He has decided to dig trenches in the sand, making an enormous triangle. At the appointed time, the triangle canals will fill with oil and be set alight, ensuring Mars can see the signal.

“Did you know, Ballard, that the equilateral was the Hittite symbol of life? Pythagoras connected to the Goddess of Wisdom. The Christians discovered the Trinity in it. You may see equilateral forms within the Doric portico and in the greatest edifices of the Church. The equal-sided triangle combines the virtues of uniformity with those of variety; it can be rotated three ways and look the same, and turned another three ways and still look the same; it’s the component of all regular pyramidal solids, including of course the pyramids of antiquity; it demonstrates a completeness and harmony in itself. The equilateral is the basis for all human art and construction.” ~Pg. 127

Earth, as seen from Mars. Taken by Curiosity.
Earth, as seen from Mars. Taken by Curiosity.

It’s a book about obsession, seeing what one wants to see, and perseverance in the name discovery.

Readers should know that one need not have a deep understanding of science or math to enjoy this book. The story is about achievement, not calculations.

Many thanks to Marie at Bloomsbury for the review copy.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620400162
ISBN-13: 978-1620400166
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
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