“Many people were involved in the creation of the atomic bomb in the mid-1940s, and Charles Fisk was one of them. Like many of those developmental scientists and engineers, Fisk remained deeply troubled and forever changed by the outcome of his efforts. This finely crafted love story—and a love story it is—weaves a well-researched history of the shrouded creation of the atomic bomb with the blossoming love of two people. Kiernan’s work exposes a terrifying truth and renders a valuable education while pulling the reader into a fast-paced narrative of love and loss.”
— Renee Reiner, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, VT
From the critically acclaimed author of The Baker's Secret and The Curiosity comes a novel of conscience, love and redemption
Graduating from Harvard at the height of World War II, brilliant mathematician Charlie Fish is assigned to the Manhattan Project. Working with some of the age's greatest scientific minds, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard, Charlie is assigned the task of designing and building the detonator of the atomic bomb.
As he performs the work Charlie suffers a crisis of conscience, which his wife, Brenda--unaware of the true nature of Charlie's top-secret task--mistakes for self-doubt. She urges him to set aside his qualms and continue. But once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Brenda realizes the truth, the feelings of culpability devastate them both.
At the war's end, Charlie receives a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in physics at Stanford--an opportunity he and Brenda hope will allow them a fresh start. But the past proves inescapable. Haunted by guilt, Charlie and Brenda know that they must do something to make amends for the evil they helped to bring into the world.
Based on the real life of Charles B. Fisk, Universe of Two combines riveting historical drama with a poignant love story. Stephen Kiernan has conjured a remarkable account of two people struggling to heal their consciences and find peace in a world forever changed.