McEvoy is a truth-seeker. He has moments when he sees through the surface sheen of the world to a deeper reality, and moments when his sense of self dissolves. The Scotsman is restless, a wanderer. He flings himself into new relationships, even as he flees family secrets. In Shadow World, we see through McEvoy’s eyes as he grows from boisterous youth to a man defined equally by darkness and light. We meet his demons and his lovers. His adventure unfolds like beads on a string, with each episode separate yet connected. His journey takes him from the Arizona desert to the wilds of Patagonia, from the Silk Road in China to the lush countryside of Ireland, ending in a twilight zone near the Arctic Circle.
Shadow World is a first novel by noted popular science writer Chris Impey. Shadow World inhabits the boundary between narrative fiction and science fiction. It explores the tension between artifacts and natural forms, between reality and illusion, between the science that is and the science that might be.
The novel is filled with intriguing characters. We meet a death camp survivor for whom music is everything, a relentless archeologist who is rewriting the story of human civilization, a mercurial sculptor who has a personality that mirrors her art, identical twins who inhabit parallel worlds of science and religion, a brilliant but raunchy astrophysicist, and an enigmatic philosopher who seems to know McEvoy better than he knows himself. By the end of his 20-year odyssey, McEvoy has gained a startling insight into his reality, and perhaps ours as well.