Jupiter's Daughter

Tom Hyman, Author, Vernon Tom Hyman, Author
Tom Hyman, Author, Vernon Tom Hyman, Author Viking Books $21.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-670-84116-5
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A computer program designed to genetically alter human embryos and program them to become superhuman provides the premise for this entertaining blend of fast-moving thriller and SF novel, Hyman's sixth (after Prussian Blue ). The program, code-named ``Jupiter,'' is developed by Nobel-winner Harold Goth in 1999; needing funds for further tests, he approaches Dalton Stewart, head of Stewart Biotech, and Baroness Gerta von Hauser, chief of Hauser Industries. During a protracted battle between the baroness and Stewart to get the rights to market Goth's discovery, Stewart volunteers the use of his wife, Anne, as an unwitting guinea pig, allowing Goth to genetically alter the embryo that will become Stewart's daughter, Genny. Born during the first moments of New Year's Day 2000, Genny becomes a valuable and vulnerable pawn in the struggle between Hauser and Stewart. Despite the obvious Frankenstein overtones, this is not a story in which the mutant creation takes center stage or even one in which the aim is unrelenting terror. Rather, the plot centers on the relationship between Stewart and his wife, and on her growth from dependence to independence. The persuasive scientific premise adds intellectual allure to the excitement as Hyman builds to two climaxes--Genny's birth and the violent finale--both wild, pull-out-the-stops sequences. Combine that with the precocious (and possibly superhuman) Genny, and a beautiful villainess who's a cross between Joan Crawford and a blatant sadist, and one has a boffo read. (July)
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