by Ben Bova
Cover Artist: Design: Base Art Co.
Review by Steve Sawicki
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765332936
Date: 15 April 2014 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Luke Abrahamson is a cellular biologist who is dying from lung cancer. He can handle that, but when he learns that his ten year old granddaughter has a brain tumor and that the doctors have no hope for her survival he takes action. This takes the form of kidnapping her in order to try a new enzyme he has created that he believes will kill the tumor.
He needs time and he needs equipment. Since he has kidnapped his granddaughter, the police and the FBI are after him. As Abrahamson flees across the country, essentially experimenting on himself and his granddaughter, he draws others into the fray. Whether he will be caught, whether the serums will work in time, whether the end result will be something that enables them to continue on as before is all to be decided.
Bova writes this kind of story better than almost anyone. Strong science underlies the actions and instead of the end result being a Frankenstein allegory, Bova uses it to consider the ethical considerations such actions bring up. He also manages to suggest that regardless of what makes us human biologically, it is, perhaps, the emotional side has the deciding vote.
I enjoyed the book. I was a little concerned reading the end liner notes since it did not seem like a compelling story and I always get nervous, especially with an established author, whether the book is going to be worthy of my time. Not a problem in this case as I ended up reading it in just three sittings. the characters were compelling and the story arc was very well done. One thing for sure, Bova knows how to write. Highly recommended.