cover image Deep Past

Deep Past

Eugene Linden. RosettaBooks, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9481-2237-5

Popular science author Linden (The Parrot’s Lament) makes his fiction debut with a fascinating thriller that asks the question: “If evolution could produce intelligence once, could it have produced it more than once?” The Delamain Foundation is funding research in Kazakhstan into how horses became domesticated. When the project head takes ill, American anthropologist Claire Knowland replaces him. Soon after her arrival, Rob Rebolet, head of security for Transteppe, a mining company excavating nearby, alerts her to five large bones unearthed by the powerful winds, which a Russian geologist assigned to Transteppe believes are more than five million years old. Claire identifies them as probably having belonged to a previously unknown elephant ancestor, but she’s dumbfounded by indications that the bones were intentionally arrayed as if by some intelligent creature. The foundation opposes Claire’s efforts to explore further, and she has to struggle to preserve the evidence—and her life—when the area becomes a political football. Linden does a masterly job of integrating intriguing speculative science into a page-turning plot. [em]Agent: Arthur Klebanoff, Scott Meredith. (May) [/em]