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This extraordinary graphic novel takes place in the space of three seconds, following a particle of light as it bounces around the scene of a murder and beyond. Like a camera zooming thousands of times, each frame is a new perspective on a scene. As the light travels towards a reflective surface, a new angle is discovered, bouncing the light particle off in a new direction.

Being just three seconds long, the comic has no dialogue, though there are still words written in newspaper headlines and computer screens. It’s normally easy to rattle through a wordless comic but with so much detail to pore over and new perspectives to unravel, this is a book you can’t help but savour.

The detail is exquisite, the concept is grand and the journey through the book will have you gripped, as the particle of light leads you through the scene.

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If anything, it looses a little soul for being such a short snapshot of time. Marc-Antoine Mathieu uses some clever tricks to get a little bit of character into the story but the discovery of this information is necessary to the plot, not incidental fluff to provide greater depth and meaning. This leaves the book feeling a bit clinical, as clean and sterile as a particle of light as it zips around the world.

Still, it’s a fascinating book with a geeky, scientific edge, though you’ll probably get more enjoyment out of the high concept physics-in-action than you will from the plot.

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Story: 3 Art: 4 Overall: 4

Written by: Marc-Antoine Mathieu
Art by: Marc-Antoine Mathieu
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
First published: 2013

Andy Shaw

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