A thriller about the distant past and terrifying future, set in a vividly drawn San Francisco, from the author of The Dark Beyond the Stars (1991), etc. When a physician, Larry Shea, is killed by feral dogs, his friend Arthur Banks suspects foul play: Shea had been on route to give a speech to Banks’s club, a group of intellectuals who have met periodically since the 1960s. While previously autopsying the victim of an automobile crash, Shea had discovered another, ancient species of humankind, a distant cousin of Homo sapiens that was slower to develop language skills but grew adept in telepathy and telekinesis. Shea left behind him a rough draft of an article on the “Old People,” and soon those others in Banks’s group who are acquainted with the article begin dying, all of them violently. Most are apparent suicides, and Banks, too, nearly kills himself after he’s visited with an incredible feeling of sadness for all the loneliness in the world and for the inevitable doom of humanity. His son saves him—but then son and wife disappear. Grimly, Banks sets out to find the secret of the murders and why his family seems connected to them. At last the motivation of the Old People grows clear: not just to remain hidden, but to war against a Homo sapiens bent on destroying the earth. The Old People are about to inherit the earth, after all, for they have unleashed a doomsday virus—a particularly virulent form of TB to which they are immune and Homo sapiens is not. Preposterous, but riveting all the same. Robinson’s gloomy prognosis for the destruction of every ecosystem sustaining Homo sapiens seems all too plausible.