by Hayden Rattisson
Hikmet Younes, a distinguished Harley Street heart surgeon, spends his days extending the lives of London’s rich and well-heeled. Now middle-aged, he assumes that he will enjoy the rest of it with his family in their Fitzroy Square home. But when his cousin, the enigmatic banker Egbert Salerno, comes to his surgery one day for a routine check-up, his cryptic allusions to the signs which portend the end of the world, spark in him a terrible curiosity.
Leaving his family, friends and everything he has ever known behind, Hikmet embarks on a spiritual journey that takes him to the mountains of Nepal, the reservations of Arizona, the skyscrapers of New York, and even the galleries of the Vatican. On the way, he befriends a crusading environmentalist duke, and together they travel in the hope of discovering new signs; from the scientific, to the religious, to the mythical; and to establish just what they might mean for the fate of the world.
During the course of the novel, in amongst solitary monks, Indian chiefs and wealthy financiers, Hikmet will be faced with hunger and thirst; scorn and ridicule; revelation and reflection. But one hope will remain, to answer a question that has become his life: what are the signs, and what will they lead to?