A wonderfully clever novel from one of the most talented writers of his generation.
A hurricane sweeps off the Gulf of Mexico and in the back-country of Alabama, assembles a passenger jet out of old bean-cans and junkyard waste. An eccentric mathematician - last heard of investigating the physics of free will and ranting about the devil - vanishes in the French Pyrenees. And the thuggish operatives of a multinational arms conglomerate are closing in on Alex Smart - a harmless Cambridge postgraduate who has set off with hope in his heart and a ring in his pocket to ask his American girlfriend to marry him.
At the Directorate of the Extremely Improbable - an organisation so secret that many of its operatives aren't 100 per cent sure it exists - Red Queen takes an interest. What ensues is a chaotic chase across an imaginary America, haunted by madness, murder, mistaken identity, and a very large number of unhealthy but delicious snacks. The Coincidence Engine exists. And it has started to work.
The Coincidence Engine is consistently engaging-one of the most enjoyable, entertaining debut novels you'll come across for ages.
Sam Leith writes for many leading publications including the Guardian and the Evening Standard. He is the former Literary Editor of the Telegraph. His previous books, Dead Pets, and Sods Law, have been published to critical acclaim. The Coincidence Engine is his first novel. Sam Leith lives in London.