Universe of Two

Universe of Two

From the critically acclaimed author of The Baker’s Secret and The Curiosity comes a novel of conscience, love, and redemption—a fascinating fictionalized account of the life of Charlie Fisk, a gifted mathematician who was drafted into Manhattan Project and ordered against his morals to build the detonator for the atomic bomb. With his musician wife, he spends his postwar life seeking redemption—and they find it together.

“The most tender, terrifying, relevant book you’ll read this year.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family

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 that work Charlie suffers a crisis of conscience, which his wife, Brenda—unaware of the true nature of Charlie’s top-secret task—mistakes as self-doubt. She urges him to set aside his qualms and continue. Once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the feelings of culpability devastate him and Brenda.

At the war’s end, Charlie receives a scholarship to pursue a PhD in physics at Stanford—an opportunity he and Brenda hope will allow them a fresh start. But the past proves inescapable. All any of his new colleagues can talk about is the bomb, and what greater atomic weapons might be on the horizon. Haunted by guilt, Charlie and Brenda leave Stanford and decide to dedicate the rest of their lives to making amends for the evil he helped to birth into the world.

Based on the life of the actual mathematician 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.

Title:Universe of Two
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062878441
Format Type:

    Universe of Two Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I’ve wanted to read a book by Stephen P. Kiernan for years, and in fact, I’ve bought his other books due to the great reviews. I’m happy to say Universe of Two lived up to my expectations, and I...

  • DeAnn

    4 guilty conscience starsIt is fitting that I finished this book on August 6, 2020 – 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima. This historical fiction book is based on Charles Fisk,...

  • Kate Baxter

    4.5 / 5.0 starsUniverse of Two was an exquisitely rendered fictional account of the life of Charles B. Fisk (a man whom I met shortly after graduating from college). Charlie Fish, (the fictional name ...

  • Sophie

    I won this ARC in a GR Giveaway. My thanks to GR, the publisher and the author, Stephen P. Kiernan, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this treasure of a book. All opinions are my own.As...

  • Sue

    I have read all of Stephen Kiernan's books so I knew I was going to enjoy Universe of Two before I turned the first page. What I didn't realize was how deeply the book would affect me and that I'd st...

  • Linda

    There is so much in this gem, history, romance, philosophy, music, music, music. The music almost seemed a character. Not always an easy book to read.There had to be an unbelievable amount of research...

  • Stephanie Anze

    Charlie Fish is a mathematician working in the University of Chicago when he gets recruited to work on a secret military project in New Mexico. Leaving behind Brenda, the girl he loves, he sets out to...

  • Jo Ann

    4.5. Maybe 5. I loved this historical fiction book about Charlie Fish, the mathematician who worked on the detonator of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos. Unaware of what he's actually working on with the...

  • Karen M

    Parts of this book made me sad and parts were just plain wonderful. I really enjoyed reading this book.This, I think, may be the first time I’ve read a book where one POV, Brenda, is written in the ...

  • Alison Smith

    I won this book in a giveaway and I really enjoyed reading it. The chapters alternate between the two protagonists’ perspective; Brenda is written in first person and Charlie in third person. I wond...