Review of The Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson


Genre: Historical Suspense


In 18th century Basel, Switzerland, the young Leonhard Euler (a true historical person and math prodigy) finds himself in the middle of a mysterious investigation. More importantly, however, he is forced to consider the big issues of life and death, cause and effect, and the invisible laws that hold everything together. The story is largely abstract, although many of the characters are real people. And the history (to my knowledge) appears accurate with the expected amount of added fantasy and creative compilation to aid in the storytelling.

Paul Robertson’s writing style is unique, and so it took me awhile to feel grounded in the story, and even longer to enjoy it. The writing is reflective of the principles of mathematics and physics that are the basis for the story. Thus, the narrative spirals in an interesting way, there is quite a bit of figurative language (some that I never quite did understand), and an underlying theme of complex, abstract thought regarding the patterns (mathematical and spiritual) of life.

While the book is marketed as “historical suspense,” this is not the sort of modern action suspense one might think, but rather more like a riddle that is progressively uncovered. By the half-way point I found myself really enjoying the story with all its oddity, mystery, metaphor, and nuance; and I continued to appreciate it more and more until the end. Robertson’s writing grew on me; I am glad I stuck with it! It is a novel full of intrigue, and history, and great for those who enjoy the intellectual world of theoretical/conceptual contemplation and introspection regarding the “invisible” principles that guide our world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.