Beyond the Rest of Us is described as a magical, mysterious and fast-paced action thriller. It follows the exploits of the protagonist James Pollack who has a dark past in banking, a difficult history with Italian women and an unpredictable ability to astral travel.
In this story, James is kidnapped back to 1814 and has to use all his skills to uncover the corrupt European operation against the backdrop of a disintegrating and unscrupulous world. The story looks at the crumbling economy and the conflicts in the Middle East and the part the West had to play in them. We cross continents, eras and astral planes on this journey and meet a variety of James’ friends and enemies.
We get a glimpse into how string theory can explain multiple universes and some of the theories as to what the pyramids in Egypt really are. There is a very anthropological dialogue about the origins of humans and the evolution from Mitochondrial Eve, there are interactive holograms and a benevolent overseer guru who seems to control who and what appears where to help James to solve the mystery of SIG.
There has been a tremendous amount of research put into this book, the science and conspiracy theories are contemporary and as far as I can tell (not being a physicist) mostly correct. However, I found that the plot was often lost in the pursuit of getting the science in, particularly about CERN and their accelerators and the theory of man’s evolution and the possibility of travel through time and space. It did provide me with some interesting information and there are parts of the research that are subtly brilliant.
Near the beginning of the book, James is talking to his friend about a meeting with a British Prime Minister which was secret and ‘not even Denis knew about’. These little clues let you know which PM James had a meeting with without mentioning her name. The information that Andrew Man uses in this book is incredible. Things that you read about in the news are in there and while they might not be linked to the plot, they are talked about, which firmly roots this book in this decade.
I had not read the other books in the Tego Arcana Dei series and after getting 15 pages into this book, I thought it might be better to go back and read the first two so I could have an understanding of what was happening. Having read the works, I can say that it is a science fiction series, substantial on the science and conspiracy theories and the majority of the female characters are James Pollack’s conquests. There are some sex scenes in this book; not particularly long or detailed but heavy on male satisfaction, with a variety of women. However, all do shine a spotlight on the current world climate.
The title of the series roughly translates to “Begone, I conceal the secrets of God” and is an anagram of “Et in Arcadia Ego” (And in Arcadia I go) which was represented on a painting by Poussin in the early 1600’s called ‘The Arcadian Shepherds’, which is a common theme throughout the books.