The Memory Chamber
Holly Cave
Quercus 2019
354 Pages

The Memory Chamber is an exciting new thriller by British author Holly Cave.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could engineer your own heaven? Before you die, you know exactly what it looks like, the rich experience of what all your senses will perceive, and who is there to share the wonderful adventure with you for all eternity. What if heaven is not a collection of memories or the unknown possibility of living on a cloud with your favourite deity, but a vivid, fluid phenomenon that you create yourself?

In Holly Cave’s The Memory Chamber, that possibility is real.

Isobel Argent is one of the best Heaven Architects. Dedicated to her rewarding job, and fiercely protective of her clients, she helps the dying design their unique versions of paradise, so that they can truly rest in peace.

In her pursuit of perfection, Izzie makes a life-altering mistake. She allows a moment of vulnerability to take precedence over her usually tight professionalism. A palpable chemistry exists between her and her newest client; the charming, charismatic and married, Jarek Woods. Amidst a troubled relationship, he is dying of a brain tumour. Izzie falls for him, helplessly drawn into what she knows is wrong.

Completely smitten, the consummate professional turns to keeping secrets. She has no idea that the best thing in her life will turn out to be the worst.

Jarek’s wife is found murdered. A day later, Jarek succumbs to his illness. He is the prime suspect.

In order to exonerate Jarek, Isobel must engage in dangerous ground-breaking brain mapping which connects her consciousness to Jarek’s memories. The procedure is untested, so Izzy’s very life could be at risk. The results have enormous implications.

The Memory Chamber is a creative and innovative work; just futuristic enough for life to feel normal, but with fascinating advances in neuro-technology and applied science that seem entirely possible.

Cave takes you into Isobel’s head, through her anguish and her triumphs. Izzy’s shocking breech of ethics is questionable, given her character. However, her experience shows that no one is immune to fallibility.

Exciting, descriptive and difficult to put down, The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave will lure you in and keep you there. The concept of an engineered heaven is definitely interesting and thought-provoking. Add the moral and ethical complications, and you will think about this book even after the last page is turned.

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