Something very mysterious is going on when an intricate mixture of nanites is found at an underwater crash site in Chris Shockowitz’ new sci-fi thriller, Silent Invasion. Jeff Smith, a CIA agent, is surprised when he learns of the discovery since he thought nanites were only theoretical. He’s more surprised when the scientists working with him explain that these nanites, which resemble metal, cannot be cut, and when they are reshaped, they return to their original form without any distortion. In fact, they seem able to think for themselves, and most astonishing, they are spherical in form-such spherical shapes are impossible to manufacture on earth and can only be created in outer space. In other words, the nanites come from another planet.

Jeff tries to tell his superior about this discovery, but his boss won’t believe him, and irritated by his persistence, he reassigns Jeff to a new case-to follow daring reporter Amber van Hosteen who is reporting on a story in Africa. Jeff goes unwillingly, little suspecting he will find answers to his questions about the nanites while pursuing a wily reporter.

Amber and Jeff have a past. She formerly tried to report on a story he blocked her from getting information on. She would not be amused if she knew he was following her, but when she finds herself in a dangerous situation and he comes to her rescue, she is admittedly relieved. At first, Amber remains somewhat hostile to Jeff, but when she explains to him that the population of an entire village has vanished and that a mysterious factory is operating in the area, he begins to listen to her and soon accompanies her to the factory.

The factory turns out to be more like a laboratory where experiments are being conducted. Jeff and Amber pose as doctors so they can explore the facility until another doctor questions them. This doctor reveals he is working for people whose identity he doesn’t even know, but he doesn’t care because he is able to carry on scientific experiments of extreme importance-at the cost of human life. What Amber and Jeff discover in the factory is gruesome and shocking. Ultimately, it’s nothing short of being part of a worldwide plot to kill billions of humans. Soon Jeff and Amber discover a secret organization, the Hidden Hand, is behind these factories, and it has bribed or brainwashed countless high government officials from numerous countries, including the United States, China, France, and Russia, and built several other factories around the globe, to carry out its nefarious schemes.

Jeff and Amber no longer know who to trust, especially when Jeff’s French and African allies, who were investigating the situation with him, are told by their superiors to cease the investigation. When Jeff is also told to return home, he refuses, saying it is a matter of national security. He is then fired, and before long, he learns there is a bounty on his head.

Jeff and Amber are now forced to go into hiding. Through Jeff’s cleverness and skill, they are able to stay alive, despite the hitmen pursuing them, while they try to find someone they can trust to listen to and help them. Meanwhile, Amber anonymously writes several news stories revealing the cover-ups being made about the factories and other questionable actions happening within the US and other governments. She sends these out to various news organizations to expose the international conspiracy that threatens to destroy the human race.

Chris Shockowitz’ story is a true nail-biter on every page. Amber and Jeff are likeable and have a magical chemistry that makes the reader enjoy the added bit of romance to what would otherwise be a terrifying plot. The Hidden Hand’s actions are sickening, and the motivations behind them are stunning. Even more mind-blowing is the ultimate discovery of who is behind the Hidden Hand. In addition, Shockowitz knows how to work scientific theories like nanites and cloaking devices into a plot so that both the novice and the experienced science fiction reader will understand them and they add to the novel’s suspense and enjoyment. In short, Silent Invasion is science fiction at its finest. It reminded me of the classic sci-fi TV show The Invaders, mixed in with all the suspense of a John Grisham novel and the action of a James Bond film.

Before Jeff and Amber’s adventure is over, a deadly ultimatum will be made that will leave the reader desperately wanting to know how it will all turn out. Fortunately, Silent Invasion is only the first book in the Zalthuras Trilogy. The second book, Earth’s Zero Hour, is coming out soon.

Any lover of science fiction, horror, or spy thrillers will be delighted with Silent Invasion. I can’t wait for the sequels.

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