For a few days, when she was 12 years old, Rose Franklin was at the center of a major scientific discovery. While riding her bike near her home in the Black Hills of South Dakota she saw an eerie blue light. As she went to investigate, the ground gave way beneath her feet, dropping her into a deep hole. A hole with a giant metal hand at the bottom. Testing revealed the hand to be at least 5,000 years old but no more could be learned. The hand was put into military storage.
Decades later, Rose, now a top physicist, is given a new assignment. Find out what the hand is, who put it there, and, most importantly, if it’s a weapon. Despite unlimited resources and a team of experts, the task is nearly impossible. Then, a metal forearm is discovered in Syria. Then another part, and another.
The book has a lot on its mind: Are we alone in the universe? What are the origins of humanity? How much sacrifice can be justified by scientific progress? Will we ever learn to get along with our neighbors? Can our personal happiness be weighed against the common good of humanity?
Told in a series of classified reports and interviews conducted by an unnamed operative of some shadowy, clandestine agency, Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants owes a lot to similarly constructed sci-fi bestsellers, Robopocalypse and World War Z. Rejected by dozens of publishers, Neuvel had enough faith in his book to publish it himself. Thanks to a little good fortune, the book was reviewed in Kirkus, leading to a movie deal, and ultimately, a bidding war between traditional publishers. It is now being called the first in an ongoing series.
As a debut novel, Sleeping Giants is pretty audacious. It’s a compelling read, certainly worthy of some late-night read time.