The search for the first city built by Cain pits secret legions and countries against one another in Maring’s (Carolina Justice, 2012, etc.) novel, the first of a trilogy.
Bill Weston, a professor of archaeology, and his assistant, Rachael Goldstein, believe that they’ve found the map to the city of Enoch, named after Cain’s firstborn son. When they also get their hands on an ancient staff from Enoch, The Society—reputed descendants of Cain—uses its drones and assassins to do its dirty work. While Bill and Rachael decipher a language of unknown origin and Detective Thomas O’Conner investigates murders and blood with indeterminable genetic material, The Society pushes toward its ultimate goal—reaching the Apocalypse. Maring’s religion-themed novel details theories of Adam and Eve, most notably the idea that Cain is actually the spawn of Satan. The alternate perspectives, however, are presented only as hypotheticals, never contentiously, and the story eventually makes room for military attacks and kidnappings, as nuclear weaponry seems to be The Society’s preferred method for instigating Armageddon. Unfortunately, female characters are excessively sexualized, especially Rachael. This tends to paint the men in a bad light; they’re the ones leering or making inappropriate advances. Well-constructed plot connections enhance the novel as terrorism comes into play during O’Conner’s investigation. Some small details add interest, including a female U.S. president; The Society’s counterpart, The League of Seth—Seth being Adam and Eve’s other son; O’Conner insisting that his assistant, Betty, come along each time he’s reassigned. The romance between Bill and Rachael earns its ink—the two don’t jump into bed right away, opting instead to internally debate anything they say or do with one another.
Fast-paced, nuanced and full of action.