The Miracle Strain: A Genetic Thriller

Michael Cordy, Author
Michael Cordy, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (384p) ISBN 978-0-688-15508-7
Reviewed on: 12/01/1981
Release date: 12/01/1981
In the year 2002, the Brotherhood of the Second Coming scours the world for the new Messiah. This first novel uses a fanatical cult to whip popular fantasies about the millennium into a potent cocktail of high-tech science and apocalypse. Just after receiving the Nobel Prize, geneticist Tom Carter is attacked by a Brotherhood assassin who condemns his work as unnatural. Tom is unharmed, but his wife, Olivia, dies. Using his own ""Genescope,"" which decodes a human genetic map from a single cell, Tom discovers that his eight-year-old daughter, Holly, will be struck by brain cancer. Desperate to save Holly, Tom forms an uneasy alliance with the Brotherhood, which provides a tooth of Christ so that Tom can extract ""Nazarene"" genes that may cure his daughter. In return, he's expected to give the Brotherhood data on who may be a match for the Messiah. Cordy provides some clever twists, plenty of action and a whizbang climax; but the writing is bland and often careless--in one goofy moment, ""the lapsed Baptist crossed herself."" The most interesting character here is the Brotherhood assassin Maria, a beautiful, intelligent young woman who chooses to become the merciless nemesis rather than the healer she was born to be. Still, Cordy's debut is atmospheric enough and the new Messiah's probable identity is intriguing enough to keep pages turning until the last revelation. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild Super Release; film rights to Disney; audio rights to HarperAudio; foreign rights sold in 10 countries; author tour. (Sept.)
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