Best-selling author Charles Wilson has taken the axiom that knowledge is power to its ultimate limit in his tenth thriller and hardcover debut, Game Plan, in which he builds on research exploring the role of electrical energy in powering the human brain. Recent studies have demonstrated that minute electrical charges can stimulate the brain's distinction between light and dark in the absence of optical nerves. The military has given such research a high priority because of its potential for improving human performance on the battlefield. In Game Plan, a defense research project that involves enhancing human intelligence demands the greatest secrecy; huge amounts of data are inscribed on microchips which are then implanted in test subjects' brains to expand their knowledge and memory, and enhance their body strength and coordination. Subjects are recruited from the military's prison population with the promise of eventual parole. Five hardened criminals are able to apply their newly gained intelligence to break out of the research facility, destroy all the project's records, and assume new identities. The five succeed not only in becoming wealthy and influential, but also in continuing the research project. Their plans take a sudden turn, however, and a chain of events is set off, ending in the death of a pathologist. Enter Dr. Spence Stevens, the protege of the murdered pathologist. When he decides to investigate the homicide of his mentor, worlds collide and knowledge becomes power.

Like each of his earlier techno-thrillers, Wilson's Game Plan reaches over the horizon just far enough to create real plausibility and telegraphs another potential path for today's research. Wilson has dealt his readers another intriguing card; let's hope there are many more in his deck.

John Messer once served in the Pentagon.

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