Evan Ryder is an extraordinary intelligence field agent now working for the security arm of Parachute, a private company and the world’s leader in the application of quantum technology. In the past, Ryder has done lethal battle in the modern global wars of power politics, extremist ideology, corrosive disinformation, and outrageous greed. But now she finds herself in a battle arena whose dangers, while less obvious, are greater than anything the world has seen before – the present and future war of weaponized quantum technology.
When an elite Russian scientist and the American Secretary of Defense die, at the same time half a world apart, of inexplicable sudden catastrophic brain damage, the world’s intelligence services realize that the quantum war has truly begun. Ryder and her long-time partner, Ben Butler, will risk their lives to discover who the true combatants are, racing against the doomsday scenario of all-out war between America and Russia.
New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader took some time to talk with TheBigThrill about fourth heart-stopping installment of he Evan Ryder series, THE QUANTUM SOLUTION:
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
The novel began as a cautionary tale about quantum computing, and the dangers it might present through bad actors. However, near the beginning of the first draft, Russia invaded Ukraine and my thoughts began to shift. As I dug deeper and deeper into the cause of the war, it became clear to me that the invasion was determined solely through the will of Vladimir Putin. No one else in thew kremlin wanted it. In fact, his advisors and generals cautioned him against it. And yet, he went ahead, making the greatest miscalculation of his career. Why? That was the question I began to ask myself. THE QUANTUM SOLUTION seeks to give the reader an answer.
Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
The deeper I got into the drafts the more I realized that the story required a satisfying conclusion, one readers could come away feeling good about. This was not an easy task as the Russian invasion seems even now to have no clear-cut ending. And yet I knew I had to provide two things: 1. The reason Putin, usually so calculating, recklessly invaded Ukraine. 2. A plausible and satisfying end to the conflict. I feel certain I was able to accomplish both goals within the context of a breathless thriller.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
This is the fourth in a series starring Evan Ryder. I’m so against thriller conventions they never enter my mind. I set about creating in Evan, not a superspy, but a highly talented field agent who happened to be a woman. Her gender was very important to me. I did not want Evan to be written as if she were male. She couldn’t do all the physical things a male field agent might do. She also, being female, came at problem-solving in a tally different way. Men tend to go at things directly with the requisite physicality. Women, on the other hand, tend to seek out different, more circuitous, less confrontational paths. This I needed to keep in the forefront of my mind as I wrote the novels. In fact, there were times when I felt it wise to consult my wife, my editor and a novelist in her own right, about Evan’s reactions to people and situations. That was a great help.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
With me, characters always come first. Then settings. I decide what cities or areas make sense and are of interest to me. For instance, many of my novels are partially set in Istanbul. The city has a fascinating history, complex history. It has always stood as the gateway between East and West and therefore was subject to many different influences. It’s also for hundreds of years been a hotbed of spy networks, basically because of its location. After setting comes the plot – piece by piece, like a jigsaw puzzle – until the whole comes into focus.
Eric Van Lustbader is the author of many New York Times bestselling thrillers, including The Testament, First Daughter, Last Snow, and Blood Trust. Lustbader was chosen by Robert Ludlum’s estate to continue the Jason Bourne series. He and his wife live on the South Fork of Long Island.
Visit him online at www.ericvanlustbader.com, follow him on Twitter @EVanLustbader, or on Instagram @evlust.