cover image The Unborn

The Unborn

Brian Herbert. ReAnimus, $9.99 e-book (321p) ISBN 978-1-08-742026-4

Herbert (the Dune series) strains believability with this techno-thriller that pits genetically engineered humans against both the law and themselves. In 2097, Riggio Demont is the subject of a secret experiment to create pacified humans, or Homo Pax. When Riggio awakens to a dead body in his bed and no memory of what happened, he flees in the victim’s car to its programmed destination. Along the way, he rescues Meredith Lamour, a risk management consultant, from a fire. In gratitude, Meredith offers Riggio a job as her assistant on her upcoming business trip to a moon of Saturn, but Riggio’s admiration for Meredith triggers the ire of his embedded genetic “twin,” Tatsy, a result of the experiment, who takes over their shared body to complete her latest murder spree. Herbert’s nuanced statement about the risks of genetic engineering is undermined by the fantastical abilities he grants to Tatsy, among them telepathy and shape-shifting. Clunky exposition and a strangely conventional vision of the future, in which gender roles and religious views have remained unchanged, will pull readers out of the story. This is a fascinating concept, but poorly executed. [em]Agent: John Silbersack, the Bent Agency. (Nov.) [/em]