cover image Prophet of Bones

Prophet of Bones

Ted Kosmatka. Holt, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9617-0

Kosmatka follows his well-received debut, The Games (2012), with an exciting alternative-universe thriller in which scientists have discredited Darwin by proving that the Earth is 5,800 years old. Paul Carlsson’s childhood fascination with mice has led him to a career in paleometagenomics, the study of ancient DNA. On a dig in Indonesia, Paul discovers bones that tests show are far older than 5,800 years. This puts him in the crosshairs of his employer, the giant Axiom Corporation, whose aged leader, Martial Johansson, needs to keep evidence that threatens the status quo from becoming known to the public. Paul, intent on deciphering the genetic mystery, takes flight, while Axiom’s hit men pick off those around him one by one. Paul’s eventual capture leads to an Island of Dr. Moreau ending with all the attendant scientific horrors. Despite some strained logic and wayward plot threads, readers will gulp this one down and eagerly await Kosmatka’s next “what if.” Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (Apr.)