"...the most gripping and engrossing thriller this reviewer has ever read in almost 50 years of thriller reading..."
When Nobel laureate Liam Connor is found dead at the bottom of one of Ithaca, New York's most famous gorges, his research collaborator, Cornell professor of nanoscience Jake Sterling, refuses to believe it was suicide. Why would one of the world's most eminent biologists, an eighty-six-year old man in good health who survived some of the darkest days of the Second World War, have chosen to throw himself off a bridge? And who was the mysterious woman caught on camera at the scene? Soon it becomes clear that a cache of supersophisticated nanorobotseach the size of a spiderhas disappeared from the dead man's laboratory.
Stunned by grief, Jake, Liam's granddaughter, Maggie, and Maggie's nine-year-old son, Dylan, try to put the pieces together. They uncover ingeniously coded messages Liam left behind pointing toward a devastating secret he gleaned off the shores of war-ravaged Japan and carried for more than sixty years.
What begins as a quest for answers soon leads to a horrifying series of revelations at the crossroads of biological warfare and nanoscience. At this dangerous intersection, a skilled and sadistic assassin, an infamous Japanese war criminal, and a ruthless U.S. government official are all players in a harrowing game of power, treachery, and intriguea game whose winner will hold the world's fate literally in the palm of his hand.
Random House Publishing, Hardcover, (March 2011), ISBN-13: 9780385342117
Sold to 17 Countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Israel, Netherlands, Taiwan, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, and Turkey
Optioned to Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler, Producers of "The Road"
"It's hard to reckon with the realization that a prominent scientist in a cutting-edge field, writing his first novel in his "spare time," has created what may be the most gripping and engrossing thriller this reviewer has ever read in almost 50 years of thriller reading..."
"[Paul McEuen] wisely writes about what he knows . . . but also shows a true gift for plotting, pace, characterization, and writerly clarity . . . and remarkably, he makes [his] ideas accessible to typical thriller aficianados. A stunning achievement."
Booklist (starred review)
"Fast-paced and suspenseful . . . McEuen, a leader in nanoscience research at Cornell, makes unsettling use of recent developments in the field . . . After you've finished the book, try not to hearing [the MicroCrawlers] go tink tink tink in the night."
"While the cutting-edge science and apocalyptic backdrop power the narrative, it's the cast of endearing characters and their interpersonal relationships and struggles that make this emotionally intense and thought-provoking novel so readable."
"Paul McEuen's techno-thriller, Spiral, sounds like something written by Michael Crichton in his prime.... Neat tricks abound, from the modification of lichen with jellyfish genes to the use of genetics as a form of vanity publishing. With particular ingenuity Mr. McEuen allows the same story elements to be used for either malicious or miraculous purposes, depending on who controls them."
New York Times (read the full review)
"Spiral is an all-too-frighteningly real tale. The science rings with authenticity and the writing is crisp and sharp. Throughout, action braids with suspense in a seamless plot. This is an exciting debut from a fresh new member of the thriller genre. Welcome aboard."
Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta
"Spiral by Paul McEuen carries the reader on a fascinating ride through the world of bioweaponry, nanoscience, murder and international intrigue. This gripping story, partially based on Unit 731, the biological warfare group of the Imperial Japanese army in WWII, is one of the best debut thrillers I've read in a long time, with vivid settings, intriguing science, and literate writing, all built on a solid historical foundation and brought to life with richly drawn characters. An excellent novel!"
Douglas Preston, author of Impact and The Monster of Florence
"Paul McEuen has built a hugely exciting science adventure based on the technology of the very small. One of the country's leading nanoscientists, McEuen has also demonstrated his expertise as a novelist with his debut thriller Spiral. It's a riveting story that combines international intrigue with fascinating inventions such as the Micro-crawler, a spider-like robot with knife-sharp legs. In more ways than one, Spiral will get under your skin."
Mark Alpert, author of Final Theory