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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The award-winning archaeologists Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear bring their gift for research to a fascinating tale of cutting-edge science run amok, showing us the similarities and vast differences between humanity and creatures barely a breed apart. A thought-provoking blend of scientific study and contemporary suspense thrills, Dark Inheritance follows in the tradition of the authors' highly popular ten-volume historical First North Americans series, as well as their haunting Anasazi mysteries The Visitant and The Summoning God.
The giant British pharmaceuticals firm SAC, investigating new medications for HIV, gives Dr. Jim Sutton a bonobo chimpanzee named Umber, who's been treated with human antibodies. Raised from birth by Sutton and his daughter, Brett, Umber is hyperintelligent, with a near-human capacity for reason and understanding. Much more than a test subject, Umber is like a family member -- he uses computers and garners an immense vocabulary in sign language. In due time, Umber is even capable of speech with a Hawking device, which allows the ape to communicate in a mechanized voice.
Eventually, when the SAC comes under fire for its questionable testing, the Duttons and Umber are sent to an advanced scientific lab in the heart of Africa. It's there that Jim and Brett, with the help of journalist Valerie Radin, begin to piece together the mystery of Umber and her fellow SAC apes, even while learning that the possible terrors of manipulated genetics have in fact become a reality.
The authors have taken great pains to entwine the various major themes here, and they've succeeded in giving us an enticing brew of genetic riddles and spiritual dilemmas. All the story threads are equally engaging, as perceptions between accepted scientific theories begin to crumble in a wash of horror.
In a manner reminiscent of Michael Crichton's Congo, the Gears have managed to turn scientific speculation into a fast-moving plot peppered with moments of great poignancy and extreme violence. Dark Inheritance is a novel of raw power on several levels, with the right amount of scientific values, criminal mayhem, and high action tossed into the heady stew.(Tom Piccirilli)
Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes and Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering is also available. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.