The Genome: A Novel
by Sergei Lukyanenko
- File Size: 719 KB
- Print Length: 496 pages
- Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (December 2, 2014)
- ASIN: B00NX8U3J4
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
A science fiction thriller by the author of Night Watch, the hit novel that inspired two major motion pictures
Five months after the horrific accident that left him near death and worried that he’d never fly again, master-pilot Alex Romanov lands a new job: captaining the sleek passenger vessel Mirror. Alex is a spesh—a human who has been genetically modified to perform particular tasks. As a captain and pilot, Alex has a genetic imperative to care for passengers and crew—no matter what the cost.
His first mission aboard Mirror is to ferry two representatives of the alien race Zzygou on a tour of human worlds. His task will not be an easy one, for aboard the craft are several speshes who have reason to hate the Others. Dark pasts, deadly secrets, and a stolen gel-crystal worth more than Alex’s entire ship combine to challenge him at every turn. And as the tension escalates, it becomes apparent that greater forces are at work to bring the captain’s world crashing down.
Master-Pilot Alex finds himself recuperating on an industrial planet station. As a pilot-spesh it is in his nature to lead and help others which causes him to take a young teen girl under his wing. He can tell from her looks and behavior that Kim is about to go through the metamorphosis that will change her into whatever specialty was coded in her genes before birth. He cannot allow her to do this alone on the streets as he is concerned that she will die.
Alex is fortunate to land a great job that allows him to pick his own six member team: two pilots, a navigator, an engineer, a doctor and a fighter. He pulls together an interesting crew, including Kim as the fighter-spesh. Only one of the six is a natural human who was not designed and trained with a particular specialty. There is a little animosity and tension as the crew comes together. The tensions intensify when they learn the first mission is to transport three passengers, two Zzygous and their clone escort. These aliens are considered ‘Others’ and uneasy enemies to humans, including the doctor-spesh, Janet, who is trying hard to control her tendencies to hate and destroy that alien race. The navigator, the natural human in the crew, is vocal regarding his bigotry against clones.
No sooner does the flight begin when there is a near collision that appears to be an attempt to kill the ship, crew or the passengers. Alex manages to settle everyone and the trip proceeds comfortably until a savage murder occurs that could trigger intergalactic war. Alex, as Captain of the ship, feels responsible for everyone aboard. He pieces together the clues to find the murderer at the same time as a famous detective interviews each of the suspects.
I found the first half of the book to be an amazing sci fi world with unique characters. Kim has secrets that add to the engaging story. It is quickly clear that the practice of creating speshes has its benefits and difficulties. Mid-way the murder occurs and the story jumps into a takeoff of famous detectives. This provided entertaining humor intertwined with philosophical questions regarding the benefits and stability of chosen speshes versus freedom to choose one’s own destiny and freedom to experience all emotions.
The leap from sci fi to mystery was a bizarre twist. I was engrossed in the sci fi elements and felt jolted when the focus clearly shifted. However, I then enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes' methodology of disclosing details to uncover the murderer. The mystery was satisfactorily wrapped up but there were a few loose ends in the future of the characters. There is a free attitude towards sexual partners that I didn’t care for but it fits the character personalities.
This book kept me up late wanting to know where the story would go! It is well written and read very quickly for a longer book. I highly recommend this to sci fi lovers and to mystery lovers too.
I received this from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.