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The Atlantis Gene by A. G. Riddle

The Atlantis Gene by A. G. Riddle
Book Name: The Atlantis Gene
Author: A. G. Riddle
Publisher(s): Modern Mythology
Formatt: Paperback / eBook
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Release Date: April 5, 2013

The age-old question of “where did we come from?” is given another twist in A. G. Riddle’s debut novel, The Atlantis Gene. Mythology and science fiction combine to create a suspenseful thriller that will keep you guessing who’s on what side, what secrets have been buried under miles of ice under Antarctica, and who are the “good guys,” really?

So, the lost city of Atlantis—Plato’s depiction of a race of super-humans who dominated their part of the world before the entire civilization sank into the Atlantic ocean overnight—lays the foundation for Riddle’s offering of how modern man’s evolution came about. Apparently, there were several sub-species of humans, and modern man’s ancestral group won out—suddenly, without obvious cause—and has fast-forwarded through humanity’s accomplishments in a blink of an eye, so to speak.

From the title alone, human genetics obviously plays a huge part in the novel’s arc. For science-minded readers, the amount of detail supplied throughout the book will certainly satisfy that itch. Those not familiar with the subject may find the information a bit overwhelming. Not to worry, though. The author spells everything out for you, to the detriment of the book, in my opinion. There are a lot of hand-holding explanations, too much “telling” rather than “showing.” There is even a recap of events towards the end of the book in case you still can’t get it straight.

What is so complicated, you ask? In addition to the intricacies of genetics itself, characters dabble in space-time manipulations, cryogenics, and bio-weaponry, to name a few. Speaking of characters, there are a lot of them. Of course, some are not who they appear to be, adding to the intrigue, and the line between good and evil becomes blurred at times. There is a global conspiracy at play and some back-in-time recounting in revealing the plot. Lots to keep track of, but all of this holds the potential for a thought-provoking, action-packed read.

Enter Kate Warner, a genetics researcher looking for the cure for autism, also trying to escape her past by burying herself in her work in a country on the other side of the world. While there, her research subjects are kidnapped. She herself is held and interrogated for details of her work, which is insinuated to be for a bio-weapon.

She is rescued by David Vale, an agent part of a worldwide counterterrorism organization. He has spent the last decade trying to unmask the Immari. With the most recent Immari attack, David realizes he is out of time. The Immari have moved up their timeline for ensuring human evolution progresses according to their plan to create a race equal to the Atlanteans.

What worked for me:

There are many layers of the plot, making for an intricate story. A lot is happening in the present and the past to keep track of, but it adds to the allure. I really like the idea of Atlantis playing a part in the origins of modern man. The suggestion that the Atlanteans are simply waiting for the right time to come out of hibernation is intriguing. The question of whether they will be friendly or hostile when they emerge is even more enticing.

Settings are very well painted and easy to imagine. The excavation of two possible sites for lost pieces of the island of Atlantis is elaborately described. The author does a good job of comparing descriptions with familiar references to give the reader a better picture of what’s there. I had no trouble seeing myself walking with the characters through their discoveries.

Not so much:

As I mentioned earlier, there is too much “telling”, with numerous explanations. Less really is more. Even when I came across parts that were a bit more complex, I didn’t worry about it; I knew it would be spelled out for me sometime later. After a while, it became less exciting to follow along. The surprise plot twists had less impact.

Let the reader figure it out on their own. When something is enticing enough, it makes me want to research it on my own to learn more. Allowing room for unanswered questions increases the anticipation when more is revealed. Permit the reader to sit in the puzzle for a little while longer; it keeps them coming back for more.

As it is, I am on the fence about the second book. This first novel was just short of 500 pages, too many of which were summaries and clarifications. Challenge me with a puzzle and keep me guessing. Otherwise, it is just too arduous of a read.


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