BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Children from a remote area survive the massacre of their tribe over a meteorite which may contain some primal genetic material. This material when combined with material from other meteorites some of which have religious significance may help produce the ultimate super soldier, but other factions are at work to use the children and these rocks from space to start a holy war.
PROS: An interesting view on meteorites and life on this planet.
CONS: Unbelievably smart characters and some of the theological elements might turn folks off.
BOTTOM LINE: A hard science novel with some fantastic ideas that just didn’t work for me.
This book starts talking about meteorite sciences and then enters genetics and biology and spends time discussing theology and the foundations of worship. It covers a wide range of topics and it is a wild and highly technical ride to get there. The book even touches on the concept of post-humansim with the evolution of man beyond the current incarnation. At one point the book states that man’s progress is somewhat stagnated due to an incomplete DNA chain that is fragmented across the primal genetic material found in some meteorites. This is pretty deep stuff.
Given all that potential, I did not enjoy this book. I have no problems with books about hard science, but this book just was not that enjoyable. The first area that really turned me off was the similarities to the setting in the book with the state of the world today. I don’t need to read a book that delves into the difficulties in some parts of the world since it is plastered all over the news. I do understand that some elements of this were key to the underlying story, but it just did not work for me.
Another element that failed for me was the characters. They just all seemed way too smart, and again while I understand that in some books you have people that know alot – this book had too many people that fully grasped the information being discussed. I can see a group of scientists who focus on meteorites and genetic material to be able to discuss this stuff, but things broke down when an army general and the head of the NSA fully comprehend this data with very little filtering. Futhermore, I was growing tired of situations where two or more characters could rattle off theories and be able to back them up with references so quickly. I do understand that this story took place in a future earth, but still this all felt contrived.
Finally, the religious elements of this book are intriguing. They look into how some elements of faith may actually be meteorites (the Kaaba in Mecca and the stone in the Dome of the Rock) and the primal material inside may have had an affect on the people in contact with them. I am always interested in a discussion that looks into the basis of faith, but it could be something that others may not enjoy.
From a positive view, the discussion about incomplete DNA and the belief that obtaining a large number of meteorites may enable humanity to move to our next evolution was incredibly interesting. I know I had at least one discussion when I completed reading this book that also touched on the subject. I also enjoyed how everything tied very well together at the end since there was a fair amount of setup in the early parts of the text.
In the final analysis though, the book did not meet my expectations and I found there was too much science and not enough enjoyment. The book may work for some folks who have an interest in the topics Mr. Hendrix broaches and it is probably of some interest to some who have read The Labyrinth Key since the events of that book are mentioned in this one.