The Technologists

It is 1868 and Boston harbor is a busy place, especially now that all the ships seem to have lost their ability to navigate and are crashing into each other. No one has ever seen anything like it and no one has an explanation for it. The captains all reported that their instruments failed - all at the same time. The police are baffled and turn to Harvard College for help, asking Professor Agassiz to head the investigation. The police have no faith in the "new" school, the Institute of Technology.

Marcus Mansfield is a senior at the Institute of Technology. He and his friends Edwin Hoyt and Bob Richards are all seniors enjoying a boating outing on the Charles River when they are attacked by a group of Harvard students lead by Blaike, the best rower at Harvard and somewhat of a nasty man. Vain and mean he loves to give the Institute students a hard time. He is also trying to have the Institute shut down.

As Agassiz is starting his investigation, the glass in the windows in the buildings in the business district begins to melt, turning colors before they do. People become encased in the melted glass, some dying. Agassiz is at a total loss as to the cause, thinking it has something to do with a shift in the earth. Meanwhile Marcus decides that he and the other Institute of Technology students will investigate on their own. A risky business as, Harvard is trying to take over the Institute and the rumors on the street blame the Institutes's scientific studies for the events. The students decide to form their own society and call themselves "The Technologists." The students have a variety of specialities, chemistry, mathematics, physics and they use their knowledge to solve the events.

I will admit I was not a fan of the Dante Club, but I really liked this book. The constant tension between Harvard and MIT lent a nice twist to the story and there is just a hint of science fiction. The story line gives some background on the founding of MIT and the clashes with Harvard over students. But as a warning, once the Technologists get into their search for answers there is more than a little bit of physics and chemistry involved. Not to mean you have to have a degree in either one of them just be warned there is some technical detail. It's a nice thriller with a little twist.

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