Five cutting-edge scientists compete for $100 million and control of a new institute dedicated to eradicating Alzheimer’s in this edifying, Da Vinci Code-esque thriller.
Spurred by his wife’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and disenchanted with the slow progress in finding a cure, a rich Swiss businessman launches a contest for promising young neuroscientists who can think “outside the box.” Chosen for their scientific excellence and originality, they must travel throughout Europe in search of the answers to five fiendishly difficult riddles, each combining an enigmatic neuroscientific question with a geographical and historical challenge.
As their personal stories unfold, the competitors share their moments of elation and disappointment when they solve a riddle or reach a dead end. Soon a conspiracy materializes to threaten and endanger the scientists, which at first seems random, but then becomes increasingly deliberate and targeted.
The nature of the riddles and the talents of the competitors open a world of discovery for us too as we learn about some of the most pressing areas in current brain research, such as neurodegenerative diseases, stem cell grafts, artificial intelligence, drug addiction, genetics, and the mechanisms of memory. And as the candidates visit some of the great European cities—Prague, Vienna, Cordoba, Cambridge, Geneva, Venice—we also experience their beauty and intrigue.
About the Author
Pierre Magistretti is emeritus professor of neuroscience at the Brain Mind Institute at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and professor in the Division of Biology at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the first co-ed university in Saudi Arabia. An internationally recognized neuroscientist, he was president of the International Brain Research Organization and president of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. His work has contributed to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying functional brain imaging and neurodegenerative diseases. He has coauthored three books on the links between neuroscience and psychoanalysis, including Biology of Freedom (Other Press, 2007).
Christine Magistretti holds degrees in nursing and psychology. She is specialized in women’s empowerment and poverty reduction projects in developing countries, and for many years has been a dedicated advocate for equal rights. She is a founding member of the Swiss Association for Family Planning and the International Foundation for Population and Development. She had been a consultant for the International Planned Parenthood Federation and collaborated closely with the United Nations Population Fund. She is currently Chair of the Board of the International Foundation for Population and Development in Switzerland, which coordinates poverty reduction projects through micro-entrepreneurship in India, Nepal, Brazil, and Switzerland.
“Ammon’s Horn is an exhilarating ride that will mend your heart, keep it pumping, and teach you about the intricacies of the mind in one unputdownable race to the finish. A must-read!” —Elizabeth L. Silver, author of The Majority and The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
“The Magistrettis have given us a wonderful thriller that moves across Europe with a fascinating cast of characters. But what separates Ammon’s Horn from the rest of the genre is a masterful treatment of neuroscience 101 and the challenges inherent in solving Alzheimer’s disease.” —John H. Morrison, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Director, California National Primate Research Center, UC Davis, and president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience