A beleaguered journalist returns to investigate a worldwide conspiracy utilizing genetically modified organisms for population control.
Fancying itself the steward of humanity, a shadowy group of elites has built an impressive and abominable network of corporations. The GMO–producing company Naintosa manufactures genetically altered food that causes cancer, while its sister pharmaceutical company, Pharmalin, produces the drugs to treat it. Threatening this built-in bottom line are the investigative journalists of Verigin’s (Dark Seed, 2013) first novel, Nick Barnes and Sue Clark, backed by commando-esque retired oil tycoon Jack Carter, who, together with a regretful ex-employees are able to craft a scathing exposé that closes down the companies’ Bolivian branches. Fast-forward and Nick is living a sequestered, paranoid life, failing to write a novel while the media juggernaut that is Global Mark Communications suppresses the work he and Sue risked their lives to uncover. But as people begin dying around him again, Nick finds himself once more allied with Carter and his cadre of armed guards, investigating an overlooked side effect of Naintosa and Pharmalin meddling: human sterilization. This quiet genocide turns what was merely an inhumane moneymaking scheme into a horrific plan of population control, and if Nick and company wish to upend the dangerous cabal behind it, they will have to use every resource at their oilman’s disposal to stay alive. The potbellied Nick is a nontraditional but relatable hero. He panics, he cries, he checks out cleavage at every opportunity, but ultimately he remains brave and committed to the truth. The story is told largely in the first person from his point of view, the narration’s slight awkwardness reflecting Nick’s own gawkiness. There’s plenty of action, from woodland shootouts to ATV chases, even a deadly golf-balling, all necessary breaks from the book’s whole chapters of research and exposition. Curious readers should find many of the topics about GMOs particularly intriguing, with ties to real-world science. The ending leaves much still unanswered and Nick once more in jeopardy, an Empire Strikes Back moment no doubt prepping the continuation of the series.
Raises the stakes of the original novel, with the same focus on social commentary mixed lightly with the action of a globe-spanning spy thriller.