by Adam Peter Johnson
A timely, thought-provoking novel for fans of Blake Crouch, Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood, this surprise bestseller will make you question everything you know.
Sometimes it feels like life took a wrong turn … what if it did?
This isn’t your life.
And there’s a way out.
“A powerful piece of inventive and topical science fiction [that] will undoubtedly resonate with readers in a way that many stories reach for, but few achieve.”
—The BookLife Prize
“Rings frightfully true. A precision hit on a raw nerve.”
—Stella Jorette, author of Harmony Lost
“A story of emotional discovery and depth that left me breathless by the last fateful word.”
For one man, the past few years have delivered one shock after another. The election of an authoritarian president. The sudden loss of his mother. A series of debilitating seizures. The pandemic never happened here. A fascist coup succeeded instead. And all he can do is helplessly doomscroll on his phone.
Now, as America descends into a nightmare, he’s shocked to learn the explanation for his seizures: He’s in the wrong universe. A drug trial promises to return him to the timeline where he belongs. With his family life strained, his job gone and tanks in the streets, he jumps at the opportunity. But what will he find on the other side?
Take a trip through the multiverse filled with surprises and second chances. Visit alternate timelines where life played out differently, yet one man keeps dying in every one. Travel paths not taken. Question the nature of fate. And search for an answer to the biggest question of all: in a world that feels like it’s spinning out of control, what would it take for one person to make a difference?
Now an international Amazon bestseller, Branches is a look at what could have been and a warning for the future. It’s both a cerebral page-turner and a deeply personal journey through fear, grief and redemption.
#1 Bestseller in Dystopian Fiction
#1 Bestseller in Alternate History Fiction
#1 Bestseller in Metaphysical Fiction
#1 Bestseller in Political Fiction
#1 Bestseller in Time Travel Fiction
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Excerpt from Branches:
I’m standing at the water’s edge when the phone call comes, sand to my ankles, sinking deeper with each advance of the waves breaking on the beach. Nolan is laughing, suspended in the air, his little arms linked between Meredith and me, his feet strafing the water as it rushes past. I don’t want to answer. So I keep tracking the rhythm of the waves, the salty spray against nearby rocks. I search for another distraction, my son straining my arm as he whipsaws beside me, giddy as he’s dragged by the water flowing back out to sea.
Along the shore, a black ground beetle scampers toward a driftwood refuge, tiny barbed legs knifing it forward. But it’s wiped out by the surf before it has a chance. Seems about right.
Up the beach, Dad’s swaying on the old weathered rocking bench where I once spent countless hours, where a few years ago my parents and I had taken one last picture together. And beyond, past the sand berm at the beach’s far edge, the worn siding of my childhood home, same as it ever was. But today it feels like a memory that belongs to someone else. I’m trying to remember what I’d hoped to gain by coming back here. I told Meredith it was to let Nolan have some quality time with his grandpa, to awaken the same love of the trees and the trails that I’d found at his age. Walkie talkie hide-and-seek, plastic bow and arrows with rubber nipple tips, the whole bit. And Dad deserves some time with family again. But if I’m honest, I came for me. To escape. And right now it feels like a mistake. This is what Nolan needs, not me. I’m closer to forty than four yet I feel so much older.
I told people it was the election that broke me. But that’s not the truth. Sure, my feeds were melting down. They always are. Apocalypse now and forever, amen. No, it was the silence after that did it. The sight of everyone going about their days as if the world hadn’t ended. All those years, ceaselessly hoping to stop the inevitable.
There was no way He could win again. Not now. Not after everything that’s happened. And of course He didn’t win. Not really. We all knew it but it didn’t matter. Because apparently nothing matters. And so everyone just kept moving through their daily loops like wind-up toys, in denial, defeated or just oblivious. Nothing short of innocents being gunned down in the street could shake them, and then not even that. I don’t know. Some people said I was overreacting, which, let’s face it, doesn’t help when the problem is that no one seems to be reacting at all. Worse still were those who revealed they were actually happy about it.
Meredith said she understood. Nolan couldn’t possibly, which was for the best. At least he had an excuse.
“Take it.” Meredith reminds me of the call still ringing out against the crush of the waves. “It’s going to be good news.” But I don’t think she means it. Then again, any answer is better than no answer. The voice on the other end of the line doesn’t waste time with pleasantries.
“How soon can you get back to the hospital? Your results are here. Why don’t you come in and we’ll talk about it.”
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