Claude Lucas is a NASA scientist with a secret regarding the latest American rocket. The only trouble is, he doesn't remember what it was. In fact, he doesn't even remember who he is. He wakes up one morning, in rags, in a train station in Washington D.C. Luke only knows his name is Luke because a fellow bum (actually an undercover CIA agent) called him that. Following a series of assumptions he makes about himself, he finds himself at a library. He reads some books about memory to try to understand what has happened. He finds that basic knowledge is still remembered to victims such as himself, so starts scanning different subjects in the library. He finds the math is very easy. He starts looking at various scientific texts and comes across astronomy and eventually rocketry. He understands the texts completely and actually spots errors in the books. Through more hypothesis Luke gradually finds out more information about himself, including the fact that he has a secret that someone doesn't want revealed. Follow the quest as Luke tries to remember his past, with the aid of some old friends, while trying to save the future of the United States.
This report prepared by BethG
In 1958, he awakens in the public toilet Of DC's Union Station. In the mirror he looks at the reflection of a bum. Still, the image means nothing to him, as he has no idea who he is. A companion Pete informs him he is Luke, a wino and that they shared a bottle last night. However, in spite of his buddy's insistence, being a derelict seems wrong to Luke and when he has no psychological need to find alcohol he concludes that Pete is a liar.
Luke begins to search for his lost identity and the someone who went to the trouble of setting up the tramp scenario. As he uncovers more and more of the truth, Luke realizes that he is somehow involved in the American space race to match the Russian successful launch of Sputnik. How and what his role was eludes Luke who remains unaware of the master plan to abort the space program.
Ken Follett returns to his most comfortable milieu, the heated period of the Cold War with a fabulous, fast-paced thriller. The story line moves forward quickly as readers obtain a look back to an era that seems so much like ancient history though it is only four decades ago. Though a bit formulaic, the plot keeps the attention of the audience due to Luke's everyman fighting impossible odds a la Grant on Rushmore.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner