When the reader first meets Benjamin Knight, they discover that he is a genius when it comes to Physics and Mathematics. He is working in a privately funded research laboratory in Western Europe for a company called Excelsior Technologies, who have given him free reign to try and make his theories a reality. Since the age of nine, Ben has been obsessed with quantum mechanics and the nature of space-time and how it can be influenced by gravitational fields. The other scientists and engineers who work with him help him realise what one of the outcomes of his experiment could be, unlimited free energy.
Ben uses something similar to the Large Hadron Collider (though next generation due to his expertise), first to prove the existence of the graviton particle, and then to harness those particles into a usable form. On the day of the experiment, he uses a controlled gravitational field to distort a local area of space-time and tap into the energy of a newly created pocket universe, in effect his own mini Big Bang. The energy released from the pocket universe would allow the experiment to become self sustaining, energy being released in a controlled way to power not just the laboratory and the experiment, but potentially the planet.
Consequently, potentially unlimited and free energy is not something that the 'powers that be' would be keen on. The world's economies, already fragile, would no longer have to rely on the sale of crude oil. Both corporations and governments would do anything to maintain their control over the world's energy needs, hence the need to stop the experiment by any means necessary. What they would like to do is control it, but when Adam interferes with their plans, they switch to plan B and do everything that they can to destroy it. As to which country the soldiers are working for, the number whose economies rely on oil are plentiful, so really it's easier just to pick one.
As his friends and colleagues are killed around him, Ben is pushed backwards towards the gravitational field and the pocket universe. The containment field, developed to stop the laboratory and everything inside it from imploding as the gravitational distortions grow, is collapsing. This allows the pocket universe to expand, hence the blue light that Ben experiences all around him. Shortly before the laboratory first explodes and then implodes as the gravity well collapses, Ben is thrown into the pocket universe, and that is where the story is set.
The pocket universe, when Ben first enters it, is new and developing and so essentially has no physical laws as yet. To make for a more interesting story, the physical laws of the universe are created from Ben's subconscious mind. This allows for the world to be similar to earth – Ben understands Newtonian mechanics and gravitational constants, so on a physical level the world around him responds pretty much as he or anyone else would expect it to. What's important to remember, though, is that despite his genius, Ben is still a 15 year old boy.
This is a boy who likes video games, movies, comics, and his subconscious can't necessarily tell the difference between fiction and reality. It also means that the less Ben knows about something, the more different it will be to his own world. What this means is that the lab he knows intimately is almost exactly the same as the one he left. The town he has lived in for years is much the same. Beyond that, things get more different. He came from a city to the north (London) which was across a body of water and he had to travel there by plane. No planes in this world, so his subconscious creates a bridge. Ben really loved Blade Runner the first time he saw it, so it is referenced by people in his world a couple of times. The more you read, the more I hope you will spot.
Okay, I'll give you one more hint – Victor.
I could go on for ages, but I hope the more you read of Ben's world, the more answers (and questions) you will have. I am always happy to hear from readers, so please contact me via the contact tab. If you ask me something that would spoil a big plot revelation in a later book, I will tell you that and not just ignore you. If it's something I should have included in the first place, I will tell you and then edit the book. I might even give you a mention on the acknowledgements page!