Averill, Alan. The Beautiful Land. Ace: Berkley. Jun. 2013. 268p. ISBN 9780425265277. pap. $16. SF
Saved from suicide by a job offer he could not refuse, computer prodigy Takahiro O’Leary agrees to work for the enigmatic Axon Corporation, exploring parallel time lines. He hopes his success will enable him to prevent the death of Samira Moheb, a high school flame now tortured by PTSD from repeated tours of duty in Iraq and destined to die on her next tour. When Tak unearths the real reason for the company’s existence—to discover one particular time line called The Beautiful Land and use it to overwrite the history of the world—he realizes that he must stop Axon from carrying out its plan, even if doing so destroys him and Samira. VERDICT The winner of the 2012 Amazon Best Novel Contest, Averill’s debut work demonstrates its author’s extraordinary ability to create believable (and believably conflicted) characters while spinning a complex high-tech plot in terms most readers can understand. Combining sf and horror with a skill worthy of a veteran author, Averill has written a beautiful tale that should appeal to most fans of high-tech sf and technohorror.