The Book of Daniel

Imagine an entire world populated only by men. The oldest have only recollections of their wives and mothers. The youngest have never even seen a woman except in old movies and photographs. Who would hold all the cards in a world like this? The one who could bring the women back.

Over a generation has passed since the plague. Seventeen year old Emmit stops and stares when Daniel first comes into town for supplies. With his smooth skin, and delicate frame, Daniel comes the closest to a woman the young man has ever seen. But Daniel will change that.

Daniel leads Emmit to a place, a secret cave lined with exhibits that look like stolen relics from a circus side show. Grotesque, misshapen fetuses pickling in jars, various abominations that should have returned to the ground long ago. Emmit follows Daniel into a far back room, and sees the fruit of all that horrible labor. Inside a coffin lay the sleeping beauty. A full grown, living woman.

And Emmit can have her, if he'll help Daniel take over the world.

Ever since man has had the ability, he has tried to improve on nature. We breed animals and plants to promote one characteristic over another. We manufacture sheep that produce more wool, watermelons without seeds. Modern women can go to facilities and pick out donor husbands for their children based on looks, intelligence, and talent. Now, with the science of cloning becoming more and more advanced, we'll soon have the ability to shuffle DNA like Ricky Jay can manipulate a deck of cards.

But if we try, will Mother Nature come around and bite us on the karmic ass?

The Book of Daniel explores an earth gone wrong due to the hubris of mankind. Hubris in destroying the balance of nature via genetic engineering, and hubris in thinking that man can restore the balance through the science of cloning.

In creating this new world, Lynn Terelle also opens other paths for the mind to go down. What new rules would emerge in a society with only one sex? How far would a man go just to have a woman for his own?

The author weaves these issues into a gripping story with twists and turns that truly surprised me. And the ending sets up a diabolical sequel.

The only criticism I have of the book concerns it's very old-fashioned style of prose. The book relies heavily on narrative as opposed to dialogue and scenes. This makes for a very fast and sparsely detailed read. I would have enjoyed reading more about the standards and mores of Terelle's world. But I'll leave that for a future book.

The book begins with a quote form Albert Einstein, "God does not play dice." Hopefully, as mankind's knowledge of science grows, we will embrace God's wisdom.

The Book of Daniel by Lynn Terelle
Published by: 1stBooks Library; August 2002

About Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy succumbed to leiomyosarcoma on April 1, 2007. The irony of this is not lost on any who knew him and laughed with him. He was the first “official” book reviewer for The Dragon Page Radio Talk Show, and after moving to Arizona, he became a frequent contributor to Cover to Cover, Wingin’ It, Slice of SciFi and co-host of Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas.

He will be missed.

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