Imagine, if you will, that, some day in the future, a descendent of one of those men who persecuted witches of Salem, Massachusetts, has created a computer that can think and reason at such a skill that it is a million times smarter than the smartest human being. What good, or what evil, might that bring forth?
In some oblique way, this book strikes me as a not so far-fetched version of a sequel to Stephen King’s ‘The Stand.’ By that I do not mean to state that this features the same sort of characters or plot as my favorite work by the master of horror. Rather, this is a fantasy based upon facts, history and a conjecture about where humanity is headed due to the advances in artificial intelligence.
Of course, the actual reality that will come will be wildly different from that imagined by this author, so it may be unwise to fear the future. But, this book takes such a penetrating look at our past that, were it not for the history we did preserve, there are precious few who could have seriously imagined that what our forefathers did do would ever have actually happened. I, for one, will never again look at witchcraft quite the same way I did before cracking open this superb novel.
Further, I will never again make snide comments regarding faith healers or ‘good witches.’ It was not merely the novel that has opened my eyes, but it is the information provided by Rollins as an introduction, and as an explanation following the fictional story. Bravo!
Now, on with my review…
POV: Third person. But, if I dare say, the writer has the main character’s thoughts for us placed in italics, so, one could state that first person is sprinkled into the third person narrative, making for a more compelling and more dynamic novel.
BLUSH FACTOR: To be sure, there are a few eff-words. Only six when I checked using the search option. I know a few will shy away from this novel, but, honestly, I don’t recommend that. The story content is just simply too compelling.
WRITING & EDITING: Professional as would be expected with the higher list price for a Kindle Edition. I recommend also getting the Audible edition, as it is a first-rate production narrated by Christian Baskous brings all the greatest essence of the writing forward for us to contemplate.
This Action-Adventure will dare you to reconsider humanity’s place. In fact, it will have you reconsidering a great deal more than that, but only if you actually read it or listen to the Audible Edition.
CLIFFHANGER ENDING: No, but he seems to have left the door open for a sequel. PLEASE, bring us another novel with this premise.
‘…Bearing silent witness from the computer lab, Mara had heard the alarming words of the man who led the attack: Xénese must never be. It is an abomination, born of sorcery and filth.
Breathing hard, she stared over to the second black case on the floor. It lay open, its inner padding cradling a sphere that Carly jokingly called the soccer ball. It was not a bad analogy. The device was indeed the size of a regulation ball. Similarly, hexagonal plates covered its surface. But rather than made up of stitched leather, the device consisted of alternating hexagonal plates of titanium and diamond-hard sapphire crystal.
In a moment of hubris, she had named the device Xénese, the Galician word for Genesis.
Still, the name fit, considering her goal.
To bring forth life from the cold vacuum of nothingness.
Was it any wonder such an ambition attracted the wrong attention?
She again pictured the attackers’ robes and blindfolds, heard their justification for murder, ripped from the Bible: Suffer not a witch to live.
Anger steadied her hand. Charlotte and the others died because of Mara’s work, but she would not let their deaths be in vain. Determination spread through her. Up until now, she had been running scared, overwhelmed by grief. But she was done running. Only now did she feel secure enough to check on the status of her work. Still, a final worry remained. In her panicked haste to extract Xénese and its hard drives from the university’s Milipeia Cluster, she worried she may have irreparably damaged the program.
Please. It’s Christmas morning. Grant me this one gift.
Over the next hour, she daisy-chained the drives encoded with her program modules into her laptop. She checked each one and sighed with relief when everything seemed intact. Next, she powered up what Carly called “the soccer ball.” As electricity flowed through a conditioner into the device, its tiny sapphire windows brightened with an azure glow, marking the successful ignition of the tiny lasers inside.
“Let there be light,” she whispered with a sad smile, remembering how often Dr. Carson had used that line from the Book of Genesis—and her mentor’s warning the day before their test run.
Rollins, James. Crucible (Sigma Force Novels) . William Morrow. Kindle Edition.
The author, in an afterword, claims there is more truth than fiction in this book. What is scary, for me, is that he may be correct. Although I do frequently read this author’s works, I’ve never really placed him so highly on my list of favorite writers. Until now. This is THAT enjoyable and stimulating. I only wish Rollins had kept this story going on for another thousand pages.
No worry, I do expect a sequel…
Five stars out of five. Well, actually 4-1/2, as it is too short.
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - US (18 February 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062871919
- ISBN-13: 978-0062871916
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)