Monday, December 5, 2011

The Genesis Key

by James Barney

Back in 1979, two archaeologists in Iraq are killed during the government takeover by Saddam Hussein. However, Hakeem Sargon, a museum curator fleeing his own murder, comes upon the scene and discovers what the couple's death has uncovered. Jump to the present where the couple's daughter, Dr. Kathleen Sainsbury is conducting experiments to find an elusive 'longevity gene'.

When Sargon contacts her and tells her the story behind her parent's murder, he also presents her with a gift, an artifact he took from the site back in 1979. This sets Sainsbury off on a trail to discover the truth about her parents. A friend of Sargon's opens up a new world of thought for Kathleen, one involving the ancient Sumerians, Biblical history, and possible explanations for why man once lived for hundreds of years until after the Great Flood. When a reporter breaks the story Kathleen may have discovered the longevity gene in Sargon's artifact, Kathleen finds herself running from those who would destroy her to keep the treasure for themselves.

I like the premise. I like the historical nature of the plot and how people today interact with events of the past.

Kathleen Sainsbury: Late 30's. Doctor in microbiology. Founded Quantum Life Sciences. Parents killed in Iraq in 1979. Grandfather suffers from Alzheimer's. Doesn't believe in God.

Carlos Guiterez: QLS's office manager and accountant and one of three other scientists.

Luce Venfeld: Former CIA. Early 50's, part of secret Olam Foundation.

Hakeem Abdul Sargon: 80's, former curator of Iraqi National Museum.
Hussein's takeover in 1979 caused him to flee. Friend of Sainsbury's parents.

Bryce Whittaker: Reporter for the Washington Post looking for the 'big'
story in order to get promoted.

Bill McCreary: Scientist associated with DARPA. Keeps a watch over the biotech companies, including QLS. Sainsbury's former co-worker.

Elias Rubin: Founder of Olam Foundation. Slowly dying.

Charles Eskeridge: 70's. Big man. Helped Sargon escape Iraq. Operates a museum in Cambridge, MS.

A few other characters, almost too many, enter the picture from time to time. All are well defined, but some are unnecessary.

Pretty basic. Some routine, standard lines. Rare profanity. Nothing too exciting. Much of it explanatory.

There is a LOT of science and narrative. Again, almost too much. There is one point–the disappearance of the Iraqi site-that is not explained.
However, there are three areas which last a little too long. One, a radio show. Two, a television show. Three, a newspaper article. They give the reader some interesting points to contemplate, but the scenes are lengthy.

Barney also commits multiple errors many of today's editors and publishers do not allow: adverbs on tag lines. “…,” he said maliciously. It detracts from the story. I also expected a little bit more bad guy stuff, and the short time Barney spends with the secret organization isn't enough.
Some sentences have missing words. Although the novel stands well on its own, it lacks a certain amount of 'punch' to dive it up past my ranking of

Blue Belt

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