Powers deftly mixes Els’s life on the run from Homeland Security with a recounting of his personal history, the perennial battle between art and science and the paranoia of nation states facing global terror. It’s a broad-sweep novel in terms of time, with a chase-plot and lessons in how to fly under-the-radar in a world of constant surveillance. … However, Orfeo is not simply entertainment. It has big concepts. Ideas jostle freely and music is embedded inextricably in the plot-twists.