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Extended Audio Sample Spiral Audiobook, by Paul McEuen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (505 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul McEuen Narrator: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9780307881250
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In this riveting debut thriller—a finalist for Best First Novel at the 2012 Thriller Awards and a nominee for a Nero Award—the race is on to stop the devastating proliferation of the ultimate bioweapon.

When Nobel laureate Liam Connor is found dead at the bottom of one of Ithaca, New York’s famous gorges, his research collaborator, Cornell professor of nanoscience Jake Sterling, refuses to believe it was suicide. Why would one of the world’s most eminent biologists, a eighty-six-year old man in good health who survived some of the darkest days of the Second World War, have chosen to throw himself off a bridge? And who was the mysterious woman caught on camera at the scene? Soon it becomes clear that a cache of supersophisticated nanorobots—each the size of a spider—has disappeared from the dead man’s laboratory.

Stunned by grief, Jake, Liam’s granddaughter, Maggie, and Maggie’s nine-year-old son, Dylan, try to put the pieces together. They uncover ingeniously coded messages Liam left behind pointing toward a devastating secret he gleaned off the shores of war-ravaged Japan and carried for more than sixty years.

What begins as a quest for answers soon leads to a horrifying series of revelations at the crossroads of biological warfare and nanoscience. At this dangerous intersection, a skilled and sadistic assassin, an infamous Japanese war criminal, and a ruthless US government official are all players in a harrowing game of power, treachery, and intrigue—a game whose winner will hold the world’s fate literally in the palm of his hand.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s hard to reckon with the realization that a prominent scientist in a cutting-edge field, writing his first novel in his ‘spare time,’ has created what may be the most gripping and engrossing thriller this reviewer has ever read in almost fifty years of thriller reading…[Paul McEuen] wisely writes about what he knows…but also shows a true gift for plotting, pace, characterization, and writerly clarity…and remarkably, he makes [his] ideas accessible to typical thriller aficionados. A stunning achievement.”Booklist (starred review)

  • Spiral by Paul McEuen carries the reader on a fascinating ride through a world of bioweaponry, nanoscience, murder, and international intrigue…One of the best debut thrillers I’ve read in a long time.”

    Douglas Preston, author of Impact and The Monster of Florence

  • Spiral is an all-too-frighteningly-real tale. This is an exciting debut.”

    Steve Berry, author of The Emperor’s Tomb

  • “A riveting story that combines international intrigue with fascinating inventions…In more ways than one, Spiral will get under your skin.”

    Mark Alpert, author of Final Theory

  • “Fast-paced and suspenseful…McEuen, a leader in nanoscience research at Cornell, makes unsettling use of recent developments in the field…exciting and unsettling.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2012 Nero Award Nominee
  • Winner of the 2012 International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/13/2014

    " Fine first novel; plot well-crafted (I didn't see the obvious connection between two characters until the author wanted me to); characters are interesting and real. My only quibble is occasional shifting of perspective in the midst of a chapter. Learned a lot about fungi, too. Hope McEuen keeps writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen Walker | 2/10/2014

    " It was an ok read. I really wanted more techno thriller than mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 2/9/2014

    " Action packed story about bioweaponized fungus and the 'little people' caught in the crossfire. I didn't want to put it down! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zora | 2/2/2014

    " 3.5 stars. A competent science fictional thriller about bioterrorism and nanotechnology. I don't think the author should have ever left the central cast of four connected characters, and every time he did so, the book bogged down, dragging my rating down a half star. There is a lot of technical information in here, so if you don't like learning when you read your thrillers, you probably won't like this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 1/13/2014

    " Good but not great for me. Seemed a bit far fetched for me to live it. Clever though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hannah | 10/25/2013

    " I thought it was thrilling but i did not like it. i did not really know the characters enough to feel sorry or scared. did not really like it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nat | 9/12/2013

    " a good story, entertaining, well explained technical details "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 8/14/2013

    " You will love this and read it in one go. First novel, thriller, placed in Ithaca, nanotechnology, heroism, cute kid, family ties, romance...it has everything! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johannes Jaeger | 5/25/2013

    " Techno thriller about biological warfare and nanotechnology, written by a Cornell physics professor. Better than Crichton at his best! A trifle gory for Christmas time, maybe... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 1/26/2013

    " I'm not much into Sci Fi, but this one kept me reading! It was a more believable Sci Fi thriller. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Black | 1/2/2013

    " I haven't read the book yet but it is certainly a must have! Just read the review in the WSJ and I'm hooked on the story line! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Blumer | 11/21/2012

    " This book is set just a few miles from where we live, so I know a lot of the references made in the book. The story itself is a bit sophomoric and ends too abruptly for this book to be really good. An okay airplane read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Michael | 11/11/2012

    " Lots of biotechnological details in this story that can either scare you or if you are not a science fan..can slow down the story. Gave it 3 stars because I did want to find out how it all ended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurie | 6/10/2012

    " Fascinating technology; pretty sophomoric writing and characterization "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis Ross | 5/15/2012

    " A nano-biology thrilling set at Cornell University. Just released on Kindle today, Suzie bought it for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 2/27/2012

    " This was pretty good! Biological weapon/suspense novel. Lots of good technical and science info in a suspense format. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace Hagen | 1/4/2012

    " I loved this book! It was a thriller with an aspect of bioweapons and nanotechnology that made the plot much more interesting. Some of the technology is made up, but some of the genetic capabilities are actually new and exciting techniques used today! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie Moody | 11/17/2011

    " A little gruesome for my tastes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JulesQ | 9/5/2011

    " This was pretty much your basic epidemic threat novel, but with some fun parts. Glowing fungus? I say yes. And that's about all there is to say about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 5/17/2011

    " Action packed story about bioweaponized fungus and the 'little people' caught in the crossfire. I didn't want to put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 5/14/2011

    " Exciting debut by this author! Reminded me of Philip K Dick--amazing, almost implausible science, wrapped in a really cool espionage story. There were some weak points, but I'd recommend this book. Along with a caveat of start it on a weekend because you won't put it down and you won't sleep! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kat | 5/9/2011

    " Not very good even though I've a penchant for plague, disease and dystopia. Also, it's marred a strong racist streak. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 4/29/2011

    " 3.5 stars...Debut thriller by leader in nanoscience; bioweapon discovered at end of WWII + nanorobots + Japanese war criminal + assassin = end of the world?
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 4/11/2011

    " This novel is quite the page-turner in my opinion. I am not an expert in suspense and thriller novels but I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's written well and quite believable in the historical fiction parts, which makes it better in my opinion. This is one very cool book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 4/6/2011

    " Excellent first novel and thriller -- sort of sci fi. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 4/3/2011

    " An excellent thriller, armed with technical details that add to the suspense rather than slow down the action. A fantastic debut. "

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About the Author
Author Paul McEuen

Paul McEuen is the Goldwin Smith Professor of physics at Cornell University. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize, a Packard Fellowship, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York.

About the Narrator

Rob Shapiro can be heard narrating audiobooks such as the bestseller The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood; Frank: The Voice; and the fantasy noir Low Town. He performed several seasons of radio comedy on Minneapolis Public Radio and voiced the titular lion in Leo the Lion. Shapiro is a musician and composer with his critically acclaimed band Populuxe. He is also a business consultant and software system designer.