This book, the third in the Lightning Brain Series, picks up immediately from the second book’s conclusion. Late on Christmas Eve, Electra Kittner lies in a death-like coma after accidentally poisoning herself with a new strain of the T-Plague virus. Two of her friends are driving in a snowstorm to her house from her lab, having found possibly lifesaving antidotes. They arrive in time for another friend to inject them, saving her life.
She awakens from the coma a different, amnesia-afflicted person. Her “lightning brain,” though it has defeated the virus, is gravely damaged by neural entanglement that has dulled her exceptional intelligence. Her close friends pledge to take care of her as she embarks on an uncertain recovery. During recovery, Electra tells them to call her by her middle name Alisha until the “old Electra” returns from the dead.
Though not brilliant like Electra, Alisha is smart and resourceful, possessing an empathetic personality that is “nicer.” She uses all the instructions and notebooks Electra left to manage all activities (post-doc researcher, corporate T-Plague vaccine developer, Guardian Party public relations writer) while she and her lightning brain struggle to recover. She soon discovers that the “Alisha neural state” possesses athletic, artistic, and social talents that lead through a series of serendipitous events that ultimately culminate in “the return” of Electra. Now fully recovered, the lightning brain has become a split personality; Electra and Alisha coexist and are immediately best friends – Electra the brilliant and serious personality, Alisha the fun-loving and artistic/athletic one. Alisha takes the lead as her athletic career leads from soccer into the world of professional sports (Co-NFL) that launches her Hollywood career.
Electra is appointed an associate professor, from which she extends her research into biomedical devices and artificial intelligence, and she reenters the political arena, helping newly-appointed president Angus McTear keep Washington politics (and devious Jared Gardner whom he replaced) under control. And she uses her Austin, Texas connection (business partner Hud Haller) to spearhead biotech drug development and A.I. innovation.
The Electra-Alisha duo navigates a series of close-friend adventures, some of which are disastrous, and Electra’s breakthrough vaccines and network Cybersecurity software thwart international Cyberspace terrorism. Though Alisha suffers a Co-NFL broken neck, she recovers victoriously, retires from football, and accelerates her Hollywood and political careers. Meanwhile, political intrigue and international Cyberterrorism attacks force Electra and Hud to set up a lab/manufacturing facility in Japan. Disaster strikes on her very first visit. There is a “containment breach” coinciding with an enemy attack. The lab blows up just after Electra and her fellow researchers escape, but they are pursued as they race through the darkness along a coastal road. A pursuit car rams them down an embankment; they come to rest dangling over a precipice. Electra frees herself and her partners but cannot escape from the blast when their van explodes; it hurls her over the edge. She plunges down the embankment and into ocean. Her last thoughts are: IT’S NOT MY TIME TO GO! I HAVE MORE TO DO. I SHALL WEATHER THE BLOW. I SHALL BECOME THE PHOENIX!
The last line of the novel says that might not be so: “Storm-tossed waves crash to and fro, obscuring the enigma that’s hidden below…”
|Publication date||April 11,2022|
|Interior Color||Black and White|
|Book Size||6.000" x 9.000" (229mm x 152mm)|
Cliff Ratza considers himself a simple scholar, having parlayed four degrees—math, physics, business, and computer science—into a business career spanning numerous jobs, companies, and industries. He grew up in Chicago, graduating from top Illinois universities before launching his business career. He returned to Chicago to combine teaching with his business consulting career and adds novels to his portfolio of writing accomplishments.
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