cover image The Games

The Games

Ted Kosmatka. Del Rey, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-52661-8

In this tense debut, Kosmatka embraces scientific horror, envisioning a future in which genetic engineering is used to create terrible crossbreeds. These creatures are pitted against each other as gladiators in the Olympic Games, with fortunes and careers riding on each battle. While most competitors resemble their natural “parents,” America’s latest creation is unique, designed by an ultra-advanced AI that was given one simple operating directive: survive the competition. As the nameless gladiator grows to maturity, it demonstrates feral cunning and intelligence, a taste for human flesh, and a murderous agenda. Now Silas Williams, the head of the U.S. gladiatorial program, and Vidonia João, a brilliant xenobiologist, must unravel the monster’s genetic secrets before things get out of hand. Exacting science and meticulous attention to detail provide the backbone for this thriller, which blends the best of Crichton and Koontz. Agent: Seth Fishman, Sterling Lord Literistic (now at the Gernert Company). (Mar.)