Darwin's Radio

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9780006511380: Darwin's Radio

A terrifying disease, or the next step in human evolution? Three scientists must battle to find the truth in this heart-stopping technothriller.Mitch Rafelson makes a major discovery high in the Alps - the preserved bodies of a Neanderthal family with a human child.Kaye Lang investigates a mass grave in the Caucasus - the bodies are mutated.Christopher Dicken tracks a mysterious flu-like disease that causes pregnant women to miscarry.Together, these three scientists discover that so-called junk genes, dormant in our DNA for millions of years, are waking up. A signal from Darwin's radio has triggered the next step in human evolution.The women who miscarry become inexplicably pregnant again. However, this time they are carriers of Homo sapiens novus. But there is mass panic, official denial, draconian measures against the terrible `disease'. Only Mitch, Kaye and Dicken can solve the evolutionary puzzle that will determine the future of the human race, if a future exists at all.

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Review:

All the best thrillers contain the solution to a mystery, and the mystery in this intellectually sparkling scientific thriller is more crucial and stranger than most. Why are people turning against their neighbors and their newborn children? And what is causing an epidemic of still births? A disgraced paleontologist and a genetic engineer both come across evidence of cover-ups in which the government is clearly up to no good. But no one knows what's really going on, and the government is covering up because that is what, in thrillers as in life, governments do. And what has any of this to do with the discovery of a Neanderthal family whose mummified faces show signs of a strange peeling?

Greg Bear has spent much of his recent career evoking awe in the deep reaches of space, but he made his name with Blood Music, a novel of nanotechnology that crackled with intelligence. His new book is a workout for the mind and a stunning read; human malignancy has its role in his thriller plot, but its real villain, as well as its last best hope, is the endless ingenious cruelty of the natural world and evolution. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

From the Inside Flap:

A 2000 HUGO AWARD NOMINEE

Greg Bear's powerfully written, brilliantly inventive novels combine cutting-edge science and unforgettable characters, illuminating dazzling new technologies--and their dangers. Now, in Darwin's Radio, Bear draws on state-of-the-art biological and anthropological research to give us an ingeniously plotted thriller that questions everything we believe about human origins and destiny--as civilization confronts the next terrifying step in evolution.

A mass grave in Russia that conceals the mummified remains of two women, both with child--and the conspiracy to keep it secret . . . a major discovery high in the Alps: the preserved bodies of a prehistoric family--the newborn infant possessing disturbing characteristics . . . a mysterious disease that strikes only pregnant women, resulting in miscarriage. Three disparate facts that will converge into one science-shattering truth.

Molecular biologist Kaye Lang, a specialist in retroviruses, believes that ancient diseases encoded in the DNA of humans can again come to life. But her theory soon becomes chilling reality. For Christopher Dicken--a "virus hunter" at the Epidemic Intelligence Service--has pursued an elusive flu-like disease that strikes down expectant mothers and their offspring. The shocking link: something that has slept in our genes for millions of years is waking up.

Now, as the outbreak of this terrifying disease threatens to become a deadly epidemic, Dicken and Lang, along with anthropologist Mitch Rafelson, must race against time to assemble the pieces of a puzzle only they are equipped to solve. An evolutionary puzzle that will determine the future of the human race . . . if a future exists at all.

A fiercely intelligent, utterly enthralling novel of adventure and ideas, genetics and evolution, a fast-paced thriller that is grounded in the timeless human themes of struggle, loss, and redemption, Darwin's Radio is sure to become one of the most talked-about books of the year.

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