I loved this book, reminiscent of the movie Inception in that it is about a group of people who enter another person's brain to retrieve some information and wake him from a coma. The man, a scientist called Richard, has discovered that the man backing the development of his project, a machine for entering peoples' brains wants to sell it for use as a weapon, whereas Richard has developed it for gaming and medical applications. The machine has the problem that some who go into someone else's mind return dead, crazy or in a coma. He has just discovered the algorithm that will make the machine safe and usable in a commercial sense, but in light of the new information he doesn't a want to share it with Dubois, the financial backer.
Dubois decides to steal it. He breaks into Richard's house, but Richard catches him in the act. A scuffle ensues and Richard ends up bashed over the head and in a coma in hospital. Of course, those working on the machine want to go in to wake him up, in the case of the doctors, and find zither algorithm, in the case of the backer. The policewoman investigating the case always goes in, hoping to find a memory of the attack that identifies the attacker. The other important character is Luke, Richard's son. The medical team won't go in without a family member to help them understand the memories they might come across. Dubois also thinks he may know where Richard has hidden the algorithm. At first Luke doesn't want to know anything about it. He has major issues with his father, but eventually he relents and off they go.
The imagery inside Richards brain is wonderful, as they travel for one area to the next, using the metaphors Richard subconsciously provides. I found the chasm between the left and right hemispheres and the rickety bridge across it particularly evocative. If you are interested in Freud and Jung, archetypes and the functions of the main parts of the brain and the psyche, you'll find plenty of that here, and it's been we'll researched.
The characters are excellent - complex, well drawn and realistic - and both Luke and Cate, one of the doctors, develop well as the story progresses. Once inside Richard's brian Dubois shows his true colours and becomes the evil mastermind, and the story becomes one to match the best of urban fantasy, even including a few vampires and werewolves.The ending is satisfying on many levels, and perhaps best of all, Mr Townley knows how to write good prose.
Undoubtably 5 stars.