The Curiosity

Stephen Kiernan. Morrow, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-222108-7
For his ambitious fiction debut, a contemporary reworking of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Kiernan (Authentic Patriotism) has crafted an emotionally satisfying and brisk narrative about Jeremiah Rice, a Harvard-educated judge who drowned on a scientific expedition to the Arctic in 1906. His frozen corpse is found, intact in a large iceberg, in the present day by molecular biologist Kate Philo. The evil genius Erastus Carthage, who funded the expedition, successfully reanimates Rice before a media horde. It’s a clever conceit, and Kiernan milks it for all it’s worth: religiously motivated protestors lambaste the feat as “blasphemy”; the media goes into a predictable frenzy; even the scientists (largely) behave horrifically in their quest for fame and fortune—except, of course, for the beautiful and kind-hearted Philo, and the even more perfect Rice, a symbol (and not much more) of a gentler, more innocent age, when people were less “vulgar.” There’s a sweet bit of romance between Philo and Rice, and Kiernan is good at making the science fiction sound like science fact. But the characters are never much more than mouthpieces for what appear to be the author’s pieties. Still, this is a gripping novel with a clever conceit. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-1-84854-875-6
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-4434-1631-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-226330-8
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4434-1632-0
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-06-222106-3
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-0-06-222107-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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