If a writer punctuates a professor’s planet-saving adventures with screeds of scholarly lore, Dan Brown is clearly his model; but here the thriller plot is so barking it makes even Brown seem plausible. The science-history stuff is relatively gripping, however, making you wonder why Berg felt a need to embed it in fatuous fiction.
What should a thriller do to rise above the ranks of the clichéd? It does no harm to demonstrate some intelligence and (if possible) an engagement with serious issues — but no polemics. Thankfully, Mattias Berg’s The Carrier hits those targets squarely.