Study Guide

Cloud Atlas Part 9: Half-Lives—The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Chapters 61-70)

By David Mitchell

Part 9: Half-Lives—The First Luisa Rey Mystery (Chapters 61-70)

Chapter 61

  • When Fay Li triggers the bomb, the Third Bank of California explodes—with Luisa in it.
  • Luisa fears her right leg has been blown off, but it turns out it's just trapped under one of Fay Li's goons.
  • Luisa extracts herself and is led out of the bank by a helpful plainclothes fireman. He sure got there fast...
  • Oh, no. It's Bill Smoke. He tries to force Luisa into his car, but someone knocks him out from behind.

Chapter 62

  • Joe Napier clocked Bill Smoke in the back of the head with a baseball bat, but Smoke's lackeys have surrounded him and Luisa.
  • Napier and Luisa dash into a nearby building, where a panicked Mexican woman tries to get them to leave.
  • Luisa says something to the woman in Spanish and she points them down a back hallway.
  • Unsure whether to go left or right, Napier and Luisa turn around and ask the Mexican woman. Suddenly, someone shoots the front door in. Dios mio.

Chapter 63

  • The Mexican woman tries to get Bill Smoke and his cronies to leave. They say they're FBI and shoot her dog. 
  • When asked which direction Luisa and Napier went, a mute child who's been sitting nearby this whole time looks toward the back door.

Chapter 64

  • Napier and Luisa run through a sweatshop that makes cartoon-character toys. Luisa can't believe the terrible working conditions.
  • Before Napier and Luisa can escape, Smoke's man Bisco, the one who shot the dog, corners them.
  • Bisco's about the shoot Luisa and Napier, but the Mexican woman wallops him on the back of the head with a wrench. Hooray. Then she beats his face to a pulpy mess. Um, ew.

Chapter 65

  • On the bus, Napier says that Jerry Nussbaum told him where to find Luisa, and that's how he was able to reach her in time.
  • Also, Napier's found someone who might know where to find yet another copy of the Sixsmith report.

Chapter 66

  • At the Buenas Yerbas Museum of Modern Art, Luisa meets Sixsmith's niece, Megan.
  • Megan asks Luisa if she thinks her uncle was murdered, and Luisa tells her the truth.
  • Just to ratchet up the tension a bit, Megan tells Luisa that Seaboard had been working with the Department of Defense to sell them leftover uranium. Aha. We knew Gerald Ford was in on this.
  • Megan tells Luisa that a copy of the report should be on the Starfish, Sixsmith's yacht in Marina Royale.

Chapter 67

  • After briefly getting distracted by the Prophetess, Luisa and Napier board the Starfish.
  • Luisa and Napier find the report, and Bill Smoke finds them. He shoots Joe and gets ready to take out Luisa next.

Chapter 68

  • As he dies, Joe Napier musters the last of his energy and shoots Bill Smoke dead.

Chapter 69

  • At the Swannekke County Hospital, Hester Van Zandt is reading poetry to the comatose Margo Roker.
  • When the clock ticks over to the exact minute when Joe Napier shot Bill Smoke, Margo Roker wakes up. Talk about a karmic coincidence.

Chapter 70

  • Luisa sits in the Snow White Diner reading her Seaboard exposé in Western Messenger. She made the front page.
  • At home, Luisa has two pieces of mail to look at.
  • The first is a postcard from Javier. He's moved with his mom to San Francisco.
  • Second includes the final eight letters from Frobisher to Sixsmith. Luisa wonders: "Are molecules […] of Robert Frobisher's hand, dormant in this paper for forty years, now swirling in my lungs, in my blood? Who is to say?" (9.70.9-9.70.10).