If you've read Davis Bunn's Lion of Babylon, Rare Earth, or Strait of Hormuz, you may expect the central figure in Unlimited to be similar to Marc Royce. If so, you're in for a surprise. Simon Orwell is super intelligent when it comes to science, but he has failed in most every other aspect of his life. He dropped out of MIT, became a bartender and got into illegal activity to the point where he was forced to do things he didn't want to do. He had no family and alienated the one person who cared about him. That person was his professor at MIT, Armando Vasquez.
Simon is not a very likeable character, and the more we learn about him, the harder it is to believe that he is worth caring about. The first hint that there is hope for him is that he jumps at the chance to help his former professor even though doing so jeopardizes Simon's life. He wants to make amends, but he is too late. Vasquez is killed shortly before Simon arrives.
Simon is attacked and hurt. Friends of Vasquez's take him to an orphanage run by Harold Finch. Simon is forced to stay at the orphanage while he heals and waits for a new passport. Harold, who teaches the children about God and about setting goals for themselves, sees hope for Simon.
There is a lot more at stake in the story than the question of whether Simon will become the man his professor believed he was. And it's not a decision that can be made in a vacuum. There are deadlines to meet, scientific equipment to repair, secret codes to decipher, people who are not whom they seem, and bullets to dodge. If Simon fails, lives can be lost, children can become wards of the state, drug cartels can prosper.
I found the story compelling. It is the kind you can read in a single setting if life allows. I was also intrigued by the characters. Not just Simon. By the time I got to know them, I cared about all the good ones. In these ways, Unlimited is not so different from other Bunn novels.
Unlimited is a movie novelization based on at least some actual people. Usually, an author of a novelization begins with a story and a set of characters. However, since Davis Bunn is credited as one of two screen writers on the movie, he may have had some say in the details of the movie as well. The movie will open October 11, 2013. I can hardly wait to see it.
For more information about the movie, go to http://seatzy.com/unlimited.
For more information about three-time Christy Award winning author, Davis Bunn, go to http://www.davisbunn.com/.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance review copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”