|Photo Credit - Amazon|
Charlie Fish just graduated from Harvard during World War II and he assigned to the Manhattan Project. Charlie works with some of the greatest scientific minds to design and build the detonator of the atomic bomb. As Charlie works on the detonator, he begins to question the mission and how many lives would be affected by the bomb. Brenda, his girlfriend, is unaware of Charlie's work but, tells him that he should "be a man" and not to doubt his work.
However, once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both Brenda and Charlie are devastated by the impact of his work. After the war ends, Charlie receives a scholarship to receive a Ph.D. in physics at Standford. They hope that this new opportunity will give them a fresh start. When Charlie starts his classes, his new classmates and professors only talk about the bomb and what new weapons they can create. Charlie feels that he is unable to escape his past. Brenda and Charlie decide to dedicate their lives to making amends for creating the atomic bomb.
The novel is an exhilarating love story that has a major focus on war and music. At times, it can be overwhelming with how much detail the author goes into the bomb-making Charlie does at the Hill and the music that Brenda creates. The author tries to weave a story about the evil that was created and the beauty that music creates. I thought the romantic part between Charlie and Brenda was electric and emotional. I felt the pain and devastation as they did when coming to terms with the Atomic bomb and the war. People who love romantic historic fiction will love this novel of two young adults trying to heal their conscience and find peace in a world they helped changed. The story will leave you breathless and your heart aching for a love so deep and powerful during an uncertain time.
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Publisher: William Morrow (August 4, 2020)
Praise for UNIVERSE OF TWO
“Rarely does historical fiction get everything so right as Universe of Two: compelling characters, faithful detail, a story packed with unexpected twists, and a sure, authentic voice that never wavers. In this novel of the dawn of the atomic age and its profound consequences, Stephen Kiernan leads us along a journey of conscience as complex and infinite as the science itself.” —Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Golden Hour
“Stephen Kiernan has pulled off the nearly impossible, reminding us by wrapping a war story in a love story that although we hold the power for our own extinction, we also have the power to redeem, heal, and save. The most tender, terrifying, relevant book you’ll read this year.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family
“Based loosely on the life of mathematician and organ-maker Charles B. Fisk, this fascinating novel delves into the guilt and remorse that wracked him for his part in the development of the atomic bomb. . . . The two main characters are complex and flawed, but when they come together, their world is in harmony.” —Library Journal
“Kiernan recreates the zeitgeist of America leading up to the atomic bomb on a national and personal level: the eager anticipation of wartime’s end, the grimly fascinating science, and the growing sense of guilt and dread. Simultaneously tender and hard-hitting, this riveting story offers much to reflect upon.” —Booklist
"Universe of Two skillfully educates, entertains and enlightens as great historical fiction should . . . . Masterfully researched and exquisitely told." —The Patriot Ledger
Graduating from Harvard at the height of World War II, brilliant mathematician Charlie Fish is assigned to the Manhattan Project. Working with some of the age’s greatest scientific minds, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard, Charlie is assigned the task of designing and building the detonator of the atomic bomb.
As he performs that work Charlie suffers a crisis of conscience, which his wife, Brenda—unaware of the true nature of Charlie’s top-secret task—mistakes as self-doubt. She urges him to set aside his qualms and continue. Once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the feelings of culpability devastate him and Brenda.
At the war’s end, Charlie receives a scholarship to pursue a PhD in physics at Stanford—an opportunity he and Brenda hope will allow them a fresh start. But the past proves inescapable. All any of his new colleagues can talk about is the bomb, and what greater atomic weapons might be on the horizon. Haunted by guilt, Charlie and Brenda leave Stanford and decide to dedicate the rest of their lives to making amends for the evil he helped to birth into the world.
Based on the life of the actual mathematician Charles B. Fisk, Universe of Two combines riveting historical drama with a poignant love story. Stephen Kiernan has conjured a remarkable account of two people struggling to heal their consciences and find peace in a world forever changed.
Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan
As a journalist and novelist, Stephen P. Kiernan has published nearly four million words. His newspaper work garnered more than forty awards — including the George Polk Award and the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment.
Stephen’s newest novel, UNIVERSE OF TWO, will be out May 5, 2020. He is also author of the novels THE CURIOSITY (now in television series development), THE BAKER'S SECRET (a regional Indie bestseller), and THE HUMMINGBIRD. He has also written two nonfiction books, LAST RIGHTS and AUTHENTIC PATRIOTISM. His work has been translated into many languages.
Stephen was born in Newtonville, NY the sixth of seven children. A graduate of Middlebury College, he received a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has chaired the board of the Young Writers Project, served on the Vermont Legislative Committee on Pain and Palliative Care, and served on the advisory board of the New Hampshire Palliative Care Initiative. He has spoken and consulted around the country about hospice, palliative care and advance directives.
A performer on the guitar since he was ten years old, Stephen has recorded 3 CDs of solo instrumentals, and composed music for dance, the stage and documentary films.
He lives in Vermont with his two amazing sons.
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