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The Brilliance series volumeBETTER WORLD by Marcus Sakey (Thomas and Mercer; June 2014) is the second book in the series and is going to be a major motion picture and is filming this summer.  
A BETTER WORLD is now also creating a lot of buzz with starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and writers like Gillian Flynn, the New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl, weighing in, saying “I love this story so much.”

Sakey actually owes much of his inspiration for the Brilliance series to his wife's work with autism. Says Sakey:

                "Yes, they (autistic children) have difficulty understanding emotional nuance and social dynamics. But many a four-year-old autistic can recite the names, in Latin, of every breed of shark. Or update the operating system on your iPad.  Or list all the routes between two places... I found myself imagining a world where the 1 in 110 children born with autism have advantages, but not challenges.  And what if the abilities were more pronounced—say they could see patterns in the stock market, or read a person’s darkest secrets from their body language. What would happen when those children grew up?" 

Sign posts from A BETTER WORLD

Sakey has included these contemporary, real world signs throughout the book that reflect the mounting civil war between brilliants and average citizens. He has given us permission for outlets to reprint some of these sign posts.The text of an example is below. 

About A BETTER WORLD and the Brilliance Saga

In the Brilliance saga, since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we'd only dreamed of: the ability to sense a person's most intimate secrets, predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest. Now a terrorist organization led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. Major cities are quarantined. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics attack those closest to them and burn people alive. Returning to aid his kind and his country, brilliant Nick Cooper becomes an advisor to the President of the United States. Yet as America slides towards a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to side with those he once considered his enemies. For the brilliants have their own vision of a better world--to reach it, they're willing to burn this one down.


LIFE ISN'T EASY  But it's harder for our kind.

  • For readers born knowing daddy's darkest secrets
  • For eidetics reliving every humiliation
  • For tier ones despised for being better
No matter what you're feeling, you are not alone. We've all been there. Literally --- our suicide hotline is staffed entirely by brilliant volunteers.
Everybody gets blue.
But if you're thinking about hurting yourself, call us first.    1-800-2BRIGHT
Just because you burn twice as bright . . .           doesn't mean you should burn half as long.


  • Read PW’s interview with Marcus Sakey and delve into “a near future America” with the author.
  • See why Boing Boing calls A Better World a “Modern-Day US Civil War”
  • Discover why Booklist’s STARRED Review calls A Better World “ fine, thumping thriller”
  • Read the Fresh Fiction Review and explore as “master storyteller Marcus Sakey continues his remarkable Brilliance saga with A BETTER WORLD”
  • See why PW STARRED Review says A Better World “holds the reader in thrall until the final crack of an unthinkable doom--then offers more”
  • Find out why Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl, says “I love this story so much”

“Set in a near-future America tragically accustomed to terrorism, Edgar finalist Sakey’s stellar sequel to 2013’s Brilliance holds the reader in thrall until the final crack of an unthinkable doom—then offers more.”

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This is one fine, thumping thriller . . . Sakey’s series has been taken as an allegory of America devouring its own. Could be. But recommend it, too, as a first-rate actioner forever pulsing forward, told in vivid, even poetic prose.”

– Booklist, starred review

“I love this story so much.”

– Gillian Flynn, New York Times best-selling author of Gone Girl


By Marcus Sakey

Book Two of the Brilliance Saga

 Marcus Sakey’s Edgar Award-nominated Brilliance was one of the most critically acclaimed thrillers of 2013, a riveting and suspenseful introduction to an alternate present day where one percent of people – the “brilliants” – are born savants, able to overmatch and outperform the rest of us on every level. Assigned to track the most dangerous terrorist in America, Federal Agent Nick Cooper, a brilliant himself, was forced to put his life and the lives of those he loved on the line to save his country – and his soul.

A BETTER WORLD (Thomas & Mercer; June 17, 2014) continues the Brilliance saga. Cooper, now an advisor to the President of the United States, must face off against a shadowy network led by brilliants hell-bent on inciting a civil war. With three cities under terrorist control and panic spreading rapidly, Cooper must put everything on the line – and choose between his country and his own kind. 

Marcus Sakey has been called “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly) and “a prodigious talent” (Laura Lippman). In A BETTER WORLD, he takes readers on a relentless adventure through a world all too close to our own.


A BETTER WORLD by Marcus Sakey * On-Sale Date: June 17, 2014

Price: $14.95 * Format: Trade Paperback, Audio, and E-Book * Thomas & Mercer


About the Author

 Marcus Sakey's thrillers have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, named New York Times Editor's Picks, and selected among Esquire's Top 5 Books of The Year. His novels Good People and Brilliance are both in development as feature films. Marcus is also the host of the acclaimed television show "Hidden City" on Travel Channel, for which he is routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs. Prior to writing, he worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn't draw. Marcus lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.


Praise for BRILLIANCE (Book One in the Brillance Saga):

Brilliance is a tightly plotted thriller with classic questions beating in its geeky heart.”   –, Best Books of 2013

“Sakey’s premise is utterly compelling; no committed thriller aficionado will be able to set the book down. His complex characters are deeply engaging, and his writing is propulsive. Best, however, is his insightful evocation of government and popular reaction to the “brilliants.” We’ve already seen it: in doctrines of preemptive war, enhanced interrogation techniques, the Patriot Act, the civil rights struggle, and the ginned-up, gnawing fear that sets Americans against Americans. Brilliance is disturbing—and brilliant.” – Booklist, starred review

“In this parable of democracy’s downfall told in rapid-fire cuts, Sakey upends truths Cooper once thought self-evident, the truths people don’t seem to want any more, preferring instead, “safe lives and nice electronics and full fridges”—nothing less than the tragedy of our times.”  – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“One of the finest thrillers I have ever read . . . if ever there were truth in advertising, Brilliance lives up to its name. It is an utterly brilliant read from a brilliant mind. . . . A masterpiece . . . easily the best book I have read this year.” – Crimespree Magazine

 “Take a dash of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, mix a pinch of Huxley's Brave New World and mix thoroughly with Marcus Sakey's distinct voice, view and style and you'll come out with the hauntingly wonderful beginning of a trilogy . . . Brilliance is timeless and may very well be the next American classic.” – Jen Forbus, Jen’s Book Thoughts blog

“An awesome summer read . . . will make you happy from start to finish.”   – Gillian Flynn in Entertainment Weekly

“Recommended . . . more than lives up to the title.” – Newcity (Chicago)

“With Sakey's newest novel Brilliance, though, he's blasted in a new stylistic direction that definitely spins his image.” – New London (CT) Day

“At once mystery, thriller, family saga and romance . . . The plot takes many unpredictable twists, the characters are multidimensional, the world quite believable and the social/political commentary pointed and often chilling.”  – Chicago Tribune

“This high-concept, genre-bending yarn . . .is an uncategorizable stew of mystery, thriller, speculative and science fiction enriched with generous dollops of allegory and social satire.” – Chicago Sun-Times

“If the second and third books in this trilogy please as much as this first, Sakey has a solid winner on his hands.” – Mystery Scene

“Perfectly titled, this tour-de-force has it all -- a credible protagonist, a riveting plot, and enough philosophical questions for a roomful of Jesuits.”  – Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Grade A Review

“The emotional guts of Brilliance are my favorite part. The hero has a child, and he’s afraid the youngun will test positive for the mutant gene and be taken for testing by the government. It drives him through the story. That’s the well-done stuff, and it counterbalances the stuff you’ve seen before. Give this one a look.”  –

“We join Cooper on this chase after a hidden world of terror suspects, which includes enough plot twists to satisfy the most demanding thriller reader, and just enough social commentary for the politically aware reader. His work asks the right questions and refuses the easy answers. And it is an exciting thriller. Rarely do we see both in the same book.” – Daily Kos

Brilliance is . . . I don't want to say brilliant, but only because that's a gimme. But it is. It keeps the pulse pounding and the mind fully engaged, a perspicacious beginning of a new saga.” –

“Gripping . . . Sakey weaves together a fast-paced and gripping story, balancing action and political intrigue.” –

 “Loaded with suspense from beginning to end . . . This is one of those great and rare books that has a large page count but reads quickly, driven in equal parts by characterization and plot as well as by Sakey’s own highly developed literary skills. Reading as if it is a cross between the X-Men universe and The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick’s classic science fiction work,Brilliance will stay with you while it leaves you wanting more – a wish that fortunately will be granted.” –

“Sakey doesn't write "safe" books. He writes books that cut their own course and keep the readers off balance. He is such a talented man that he knows exactly where each plot twist is going and is able to justify it all in the end. . .  Reading a good Sakey novel, and this is definitely a good Sakey novel, is like running an obstacle course. You have to be prepared for the unexpected and you must have the stamina to stick with the story, because most readers will want to finish it in one sitting. So go ahead and jump on the Marcus Sakey bandwagon now. Might as well since it is heading your way, and familiarity and admiration are inevitable.” – Huffington Post

“Marcus Sakey’s new supernatural thriller, Brilliance, lives up to its name. From the very start, this first novel in a projected series is full of action and intrigue. . . Through some twisted ups and downs, the fast-paced Brilliance has all of the best with manipulation, revolution and social commentary in a world disturbingly close to our own.”   – Bookpage

“Summer is the perfect time of year to dive into thrillers that will burn away the afternoon and make you forget about your job, the heat or your visiting in-laws. Two new page-turners out in July fit that description, breaking new ground in the techno-thriller genre, which draws upon themes in science fiction, espionage and action . . . Marcus Sakey's Brilliance is part science fiction, part high-speed chase with a healthy dose of "Big Brother" paranoia.” –


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015