The Curiosity: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

A powerful debut novel in which a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, awakens in the present day and finds the greatest discovery is love . . .

The 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. As a scientist in a groundbreaking project run by the egocentric and paranoid Erastus Carthage, Kate has brought small ...

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The Curiosity: A Novel

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Overview

A powerful debut novel in which a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, awakens in the present day and finds the greatest discovery is love . . .

The 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. As a scientist in a groundbreaking project run by the egocentric and paranoid Erastus Carthage, Kate has brought small creatures—plankton, krill, shrimp—back to life for short periods of time. But the team's methods have never been attempted on larger life-forms.

Heedless of the potential consequences, Carthage orders that the frozen man be brought back to the lab in Boston and reanimated. The endeavor is named "The Lazarus Project." 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. When news of the project and Jeremiah Rice breaks, it ignites a media firestorm and protests by religious fundamentalists.

Thrown together by fate, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah's new life is slipping away. With Carthage planning to exploit Jeremiah while he can, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.

A gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller, Stephen P. Kiernan's provocative debut novel raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity—man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid novelty, as a living being: a curiosity.

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Editorial Reviews

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)
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.
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 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.”
—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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062221087
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 57,299
  • File size: 591 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen P. Kiernan is a journalist with an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the author of two works of nonfiction, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism, and has been awarded 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 lives in Vermont with his two sons. The Curiosity is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    Dr. Kate Philo is on an arctic expedition to discover frozen lif

    Dr. Kate Philo is on an arctic expedition to discover frozen lifeforms. She works for a team of scientists who study cell reanimation. Basically, they have the technology to bring small, frozen lifeforms, mostly krill, back to life. As with all science, the process is not full proof. In fact, the creatures come to life for only a short period of time before dying again, for good. But the young doctor is optimistic at the promises of the project. So much so that she gave up her university position, which she really loved, to take on the expedition full time. One day, the team, sailing under the banner of the Carthage Institute, comes across an unusual find. They come upon a giant "candidate berg" that has the largest carbon signature ever recorded. As they begin digging into the berg, they expect to find some sort of sea creature, probably a seal. But as the divers dig deeper into the ice, they see something poking out that they never expected to find . . . a human hand.
    To say journalist Daniel Dixon is ambitious would be an understatement. He has spent his career searching for that one high-profile story to propel him to the top of his field. It is no wonder then that he agreed to be the sole journalist to cover the Carthage Institute. He has seen the reanimation of krill with his own eyes, and was aboard the ship when the team, led by the beautiful Dr. Kate Philo, discovered the frozen remains of a human man. Now the leader of the institute, Dr. Erastus Carthage, has called upon Dixon to be the sole reporter, as the institute, recently renamed the Lazarus Project, attempts to reanimate their largest subject to date. But Daniel Dixon has an ulterior motive. Yes, being the sole reporter for the historic attempt to bring a man back to life will bring his writing international exposure, but Daniel believes there is more to the story than meets the eye. In fact, he is certain that the Lazarus Project is nothing more that an elaborate hoax, meant to bring fortune and political power to its founder.
    Dr. Erastus Carthage is not a nice man. As the head of his privately funded institute and as the leading scientist on cell reanimation, he has become accustom to getting his way, no matter what. With the discovery of a frozen human, he prepares himself for the windfall that is sure to come when he brings the man back to life. But he knows this will not be easy. The project has it's fair share of detractors. Many protest the project, claiming that God and only God has the power to revive human life. Carthage is certain of his science and the powerful possibilities that reanimation of human life could present. He is aware of the various thoughts for and against his work and will stop at nothing to see his work through.
    In The Curiosity, author Stephen P. Kiernan masterfully blends science, morality, and romance into a stunning novel. Each chapter is told from the perspective of either Dr. Kate Philo, Daniel Dixon, or Dr. Erastus Carthage, allowing the reader to delve deeper into the motivations of each character and their reactions to the actions of the others. Kiernan explores the issue of morality in science and the lengths that people are willing to go to fulfill their ambitions. Despite the exploration of some potentially controversial themes, Kiernan never pushes an agenda upon the reader, opting instead to let the characters and events speak for themselves.
    The novel is hard to place within one genre, reading as a kind of cross between At The Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, Dan Brown's Deception Point, and Eowyn Ivey's Snow Child.  The novel presents a strong romantic thread to it's plot, about halfway through. Fortunately, Kiernan devotes as much effort to building a believable romance as he does in convincing us that reanimation could actually occur. In the end, The Curiosity is a masterful novel, equally entertaining and heartbreaking. It will force you to reevaluate some of your own beliefs while never leading you to a definitive answer. In the end, readers are sure to devour this thought provoking novel and still be thinking about it for weeks to come.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Excellent book! I won't repeat the synopsis, but this is defini

    Excellent book! I won't repeat the synopsis, but this is definitely a page-turner. As the story progresses, each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character: Daniel the reporter, Carthage the egomaniac head of the project, Kate the scientist, and Jeremiah the frozen man. Crafted this way, you learn the motivations of each character and how they react to each situation. The story makes you think about the way you look at life, love, morality. This is a book I will definitely read again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2013

    Dr. Kate Philo makes the most amazing discovery.  A man buried i

    Dr. Kate Philo makes the most amazing discovery.  A man buried in the ice at the Arctic Circle is found and brought back to life.  
    The man’s name is Jeremiah.  Dr. Kate ends up falling for her reanimated man but his life is slowing coming to an end, only this time
    permanently.  Stephen’s debut novel is a masterfully created work that keeps the reader engrossed till the very end.  The tale is original
    and makes you think – what if this was too really happen – what would you do?  I give this book 5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    This is a book that I didn't want to end. With the way it ended

    This is a book that I didn't want to end. With the way it ended, it could almost have a sequel. I found the plot riviting and the characters were such that you either loved them or hated them. For a first novel this book is a fast read and as I said I was disappointed when the story ended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Skipped to the end

    Wack....anti-climatic in everyway

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Magical!

    I really didn't want this story to end. It was a great read. So glad it's going to made into a movie...can't wait. You will be swept away into Kate and Jeremiah's world. This book leaves you wondering and hoping for things beyond our comprehension...to be curious!

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a first novel by this a

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a first novel by this award win­ning jour­nal­ist. Mr. Kier­nan has pre­vi­ously writ­ten two non-fiction books.

    On an Arc­tic expe­di­tion, Dr. Kate Philo dis­cov­ers the body of a man who was flash frozen deep in ice. In what could only be con­sid­ered excep­tional sci­ence with a bit of luck, the man, Judge Jere­miah Rice was brought back to life after being dead for more than a century.

    Dr. Kate joins Judge Rice as he learns more about this new soci­ety, while the project’s direc­tor Dr. Eras­tus Carthage tries to exploit the Lazarus Project and Judge Rice for as long as he can.
    And time is run­ning out quickly.

    The Curios­ity by Stephen P. Kier­nan is a social com­men­tary at its core. The eth­i­cal dilem­mas (or lack there of) which rais­ing the dead brings with it are enor­mous, the fab­u­lous sci­ence, out­right hatred, skep­ti­cism and look­ing at soci­ety through new eyes are dis­cussed with­out prej­u­dice, let­ting the reader digest the material.

    The book does not present any answers ques­tions, as dif­fi­cult as they may be. Since the book doesn’t present many answers, I believe it would make an excel­lent choice for a book club. The book exam­ines our media dri­ven cul­ture, ethics, reli­gion and where med­ical & busi­ness inter­cede, the dilem­mas behind such a union and other themes.

    The book is an excit­ing and engag­ing read from start to fin­ish. There are clues at the start which one has to keep in mind while read­ing the book and at the end which, in my opin­ion, make the story more engag­ing. I also loved the way the story is told through mul­ti­ple points of view, Dr. Kate Philo – a sci­en­tist and human­i­tar­ian, Eras­tus Carthage– head of the project, Dixon — a reporter, and Judge Jere­miah Rice – the man brought back to life.

    The char­ac­ter of Eras­tus Carthage stood out for me; he was just much fun to read through. Dr. Carthage is an ego­tis­ti­cal, self-centered ass who is a gen­uine genius through and through. The chap­ters told through his eyes are both hilar­i­ous and dis­turb­ing, the inner thoughts of a man who knows he is the smartest man in the room and views every­one else as men­tal midgets (includ­ing other geniuses) are funny and con­de­scend­ing. The reader also gets a look into Carthage’s mind when he is out­played by oth­ers which leads to inter­est­ing insights and dis­cus­sion points.

    As a fan of his­tory, my only dis­ap­point­ment was the lack of his­to­ri­ans flock­ing Judge Rice when he was awaken. I’m sure his­to­ri­ans would have been stand­ing in line to get a first­hand account of the late 1800’s, and how soci­ety viewed itself then as opposed to being judged by today’s stan­dards. How we are judged by the stan­dards of yore we get through the obser­va­tions of Rice.

    The Curios­ity is a very enjoy­able and inter­est­ing novel. There is a lot going on, in and for this book start­ing at the premise and end­ing at the storytelling.

    Dis­claimer: I got this book for free

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    A decent read

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 15, 2013

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    Posted July 15, 2013

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    Posted July 11, 2014

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    Posted July 24, 2013

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    Posted July 18, 2013

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    Posted September 20, 2013

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