The Curiosity: A Novel by Stephen P. Kiernan | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Curiosity: A Novel

The Curiosity: A Novel

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by Stephen P. Kiernan
     
 

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The Curiosity, Stephen Kiernan’s debut novel, is a gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller that raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity—man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid plaything, as a living being, as a curiosity.…
 
Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team make a

Overview

The Curiosity, Stephen Kiernan’s debut novel, is a gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller that raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity—man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid plaything, as a living being, as a curiosity.…
 
Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team make a breathtaking discovery in the Arctic: the body of a man buried deep in the ice. Remarkably, the frozen man is brought back to the lab and successfully reanimated. As the man begins to regain his memories, the team learns that he was—is—a judge, Jeremiah Rice, and the last thing he remembers is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906.
 
Thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah’s new life is slipping away...and all too soon, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.

Editorial Reviews

Minneapolis Star Tribune on THE CURIOSITY
“Summer is dominated with thrilling books, but if you prefer yours more measured, more touching and decidedly more thought-provoking, this one may satisfy your curiosity.”
Booklist (starred review) on THE CURIOSITY
“[A] smart, heady, and irresistable science thriller....Kiernan gets every element right in teh breakneck, entertaining and thought-provoking taleabout time, mortality, the ethics of science, and the meaning of life.”
Parade on THE CURIOSITY
“Stephen P. Kiernan’s novel is a marvelous blend of sci-fi, romance, and the tug-of-war between science and ethics.”
Entertainment Weekly on THE CURIOSITY
“[THE CURIOSITY] poses provocative questions about life and humanity.”
Booklist on THE CURIOSITY
“[A] smart, heady, and irresistable science thriller....Kiernan gets every element right in teh breakneck, entertaining and thought-provoking taleabout time, mortality, the ethics of science, and the meaning of life.”
Chris Bohjalian
“I absolutely loved THE CURIOSITY. It’s as thought-provoking and powerful as FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON and the writing is breathtakingly beautiful. And that ending? Poignant, luminescent, and absolutely perfect.”
Booklist (starred review)
“[A] smart, heady, and irresistible science thriller...Kiernan gets every element right in this breakneck, entertaining, and thought-provoking tale about time, mortality, the ethics of science, and the meaning of life.”
--Justin Cronin
“Stephen P. Kiernan’s The Curiosity is a true page-turner, mixing cutting edge science with an all-too-human love story, while simultaneously taking on the Big Questions. It’s one of the most assured debuts in years, a book that will stop your heart and start it again.”
—Justin Cronin
“Stephen P. Kiernan’s The Curiosity is a true page-turner, mixing cutting edge science with an all-too-human love story, while simultaneously taking on the Big Questions. It’s one of the most assured debuts in years, a book that will stop your heart and start it again.”
Publishers Weekly
For his ambitious fiction debut, a contemporary reworking of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Kiernan (Authentic Patriotism) has crafted an emotionally satisfying and brisk narrative about Jeremiah Rice, a Harvard-educated judge who drowned on a scientific expedition to the Arctic in 1906. His frozen corpse is found, intact in a large iceberg, in the present day by molecular biologist Kate Philo. The evil genius Erastus Carthage, who funded the expedition, successfully reanimates Rice before a media horde. It’s a clever conceit, and Kiernan milks it for all it’s worth: religiously motivated protestors lambaste the feat as “blasphemy”; the media goes into a predictable frenzy; even the scientists (largely) behave horrifically in their quest for fame and fortune—except, of course, for the beautiful and kind-hearted Philo, and the even more perfect Rice, a symbol (and not much more) of a gentler, more innocent age, when people were less “vulgar.” There’s a sweet bit of romance between Philo and Rice, and Kiernan is good at making the science fiction sound like science fact. But the characters are never much more than mouthpieces for what appear to be the author’s pieties. Still, this is a gripping novel with a clever conceit. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (July)
Justin Cronin
"Stephen Kiernan’s THE CURIOSITY is a true page-turner, mixing cutting edge science with an all-too-human love story, while simultaneously taking on the Big Questions. It’s one of the most assured debuts in years, a book that will stop your heart and start it again."
Library Journal
Dr. Kate Philo, searching the Arctic Ocean for "hard ice"—ice that has not melted during the short Arctic summer—hopes to recover flash-frozen mammals such as the mammoths occasionally found in Siberian permafrost. One night she and her scientific team strike unexpected gold: the body of a man frozen deep in the ice. They take the corpse to Boston, where Kate's boss, Erastus Carthage, will try to reanimate what he labels "Subject One" of his Lazarus Project. Amazingly, he succeeds and Judge Jeremiah Rice, whose last memory is of falling overboard into the ocean during a 1906 storm, is brought back to life. But news about the project and Jeremiah raises a tempest of ethical controversy and protests. Mixed with the cutting-edge science (with greed naturally raising its ugly head) is a love story that flowers between Kate and Jeremiah. Recognizing the judge's fragile humanity, Kate strives to introduce him to 21st-century Boston and New England. During their outings, their mutual attraction grows, set off against the imperfections of Jeremiah's reanimation. VERDICT This debut by an award-winning journalist (Last Rights; Authentic Patriotism) is a compelling, beautifully written, and thought-provoking literary thriller that will call to mind Daniel Keyes's classic Flowers for Algernon. [See Prepub Alert, 1/14/13.]—Vicki Gregory, Sch. of Information, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa
Kirkus Reviews
Last seen in 1906, a frozen explorer, thawed by a scientist/entrepreneur, confounds present-day Boston. When a modern Arctic expedition, at the behest of megalomaniac Nobel-seeker Erastus Carthage, discovers a man encased in "hard-ice" (a supercold, cryogenically fortuitous iceberg), all hell breaks loose. The man, dubbed Subject One, is brought back to Boston, revived in Carthage's top-secret lab facility and gradually introduced to 21st-century America. The "specimen" is soon revealed as a native of nearby Lynn, Mass., Jeremiah Rice, a district court judge who had tagged along on a doomed Arctic expedition. The story relays from Rice to Carthage, a bloviating tyrant with a hand-sanitizer fetish. Narrators also include the smarmy second-tier journalist Daniel Dixon (a type recognizable from Tom Wolfe novels), who has somehow wangled an exclusive on the "re-awakening," and Kate Philo, Ph.D., a biologist who wants to remove Jeremiah from the prison of clinical observation to give him a chance at a normal life. The suspenseful plot hinges largely on three questions: How many colleagues can Carthage ruin without fouling his own nest; will the chaste courtship of Rice and his protectress, Philo, morph into actual carnal relations; and, most compelling, when does Rice's new lease expire? Working feverishly, some of the nerdier members of the revivification team have discovered that every life form similarly resuscitated has expired within days--after a brief honeymoon period, the organism goes on endocrine overdrive and self-destructs. Rice seems to have beaten these odds, and a methodical British staffer is closing in on a way to arrest this deadly metabolic frenzy--until Carthage fires him. As Rice issues his gentle jeremiads about the violence, profanity, licentiousness and overall insanity of our world as compared with that of the world at the turn of the 20th century, other, more intriguing lines of inquiry go unexplored, e.g. the impact on Rice's descendants, if any. The ending, if not exactly ingenious, is at least fitting and somewhat touching. A derivative but unmistakably engaging debut.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062221070
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/01/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
213,531
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

What People are saying about this

Justin Cronin

“Stephen Kiernan’s THE CURIOSITY is a true page-turner, mixing cutting edge science with an all-too-human love story, while simultaneously taking on the Big Questions. It’s one of the most assured debuts in years, a book that will stop your heart and start it again.”

Chris Bohjalian

“I absolutely loved THE CURIOSITY. It’s as thought-provoking and powerful as FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON and the writing is breathtakingly beautiful. And that ending? Poignant, luminescent, and absolutely perfect.”

Meet the Author

Stephen P. Kiernan is a graduate of Middlebury College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. During his more than twenty years as a journalist, he has won numerous awards, including the Brechner Center’s Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He is the author of The Curiosity, his first novel, and two nonfiction books. He lives in Vermont with his two sons.

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