Around the world, at the same time, four planes go down. Despite the fact that it’s impossible for anyone to have survived these tragedies, three of the crashes miraculously spared one child each. But there is something strange about each of these children, as their caregivers come to realize. The frenzy around “the three” reaches astonishing heights around the world as a journalist tries to puzzle out the truth behind the plane crashes.
A slow-burning novel, The Three is a well-executed study of the breakdown of society after unexpected events while it simultaneously maintains a creepy and unexpected mystery.
The Three is an intriguing, if slow-building, novel about the mystery behind four simultaneous plane crashes and the impossible survivors of each. But more than that, it’s about the aftermath—the way the entire world panics, believing that these children are the harbinger of something more. From governments to religious organizations, the chaos that slowly descends after these events is terrifying, yet completely believable. The mystery of the children is definitely present throughout the novel, but the book becomes so much more than that as it attempts to explain not just the plane crashes, but everything that came after.
The novel is structured as a series of interviews, emails, and encounters compiled by a journalist investigating the plane crashes. There are many, many consequences of these plane crashes, large and small, and the format allows many of them to be covered effectively, though sometimes the book as a whole feels disjointed. It does a great job of heightening the tension, as the reader tries to figure out what, if anything, is really going on, while also being distracted by the hoopla generated by religious leaders and other organizations. What The Three does, essentially, is keep the reader questioning and guessing constantly.
If you’re looking for an action-packing mystery/thriller, then The Three will probably disappoint. This is not really even something I’d characterize as a mystery; while that’s inherent in the premise, there are so many other areas the novel covers comprehensively. In many ways, it’s a study of the breakdown of society after mysterious events occur; Lotz handles this very well; it’s both believable and frightening. But because of this larger scope, the book often moves slowly. It takes its time to build, but it’s absolutely worth the payoff.
The ending of The Three will leave the reader shocked, with shivers running down their spine. It’s very well done, though this isn’t necessarily a novel you should pick up if you like all the answers presented to you neatly. Lotz leaves many questions unanswered, but not in a frustrating way. Instead, this is a book that will absolutely make you think long and hard about the strangeness within its pages.