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Dan Brown meets John Grisham in this exciting thriller.

Debut novelist Reagen successfully traces a familiar narrative path: Involve a virtuous, accomplished and unsuspecting male protagonist–in this case, the appropriately named Steve Sharp–in a modern-day battle between ancient fraternities warring over a particular sacred passage–and let the adventures begin. Using the Old Testament’s Book of Malachi as a springboard, Reagen explores the world of the Cromwellian Order of Lords, a secret sect of Freemasons founded in 1649 that seeks to decrease the world’s population by six billion people in order to conform to the 500-million that were the existing ideal of Oliver Cromwell’s era. Such a daunting task requires the scientific genius of Dr. Afafe Jaghasbanian–known as “Dr. J”–who has developed genetically altered corn that sterilizes whomever ingests it. Unfortunately for the Cromwellians, Dr. J works with Sharp, a noble, up-and-coming Chicago lawyer who, in the past, successfully helped the doctor patent new devices for animal breeding. The reasons for Dr. J’s apparent sojourn on the dark side comprise the mystery that drives the story, but when Dr. J enlists Sharp’s help to locate and retrieve his tainted corn, the action really begins. Sharp’s legal maneuvering on Dr. J’s behalf unwittingly draws the attention of another impassioned secret society, the Irish Knights of Innisfallen, who set out to rid the world of their malevolent rivals–along with Sharp. A little violence, globetrotting and romance round out the story as the forces of good and evil duke it out.

Formulaic, but the formula for bestsellerdom.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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