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ORCHARD OF MY EYE by Mark Canter

ORCHARD OF MY EYE

By Mark Canter

Pub Date: Dec. 29th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1481183819
Publisher: CreateSpace

A method for providing artificial vision attracts the attention of a dangerous U.S. black-ops intelligence organization in Canter’s latest thriller.

Nat Colt, a brilliant scientist investigating technology to enhance impaired vision, faces a crucial dilemma: Who will take care of his 9-year-old daughter, Jasmine, after he dies? Nat has brain cancer, and Jasmine’s mother Roan is dead, a victim of arson. Roan, a highly gifted physicist who also happened to be blind, had been Nat’s partner in the lab. When Nat meets Aria Rioverde, a dancer and ethnomusicologist with degenerating eyesight, she seems like the answer to his problems; she’s willing to undergo an experimental procedure that could restore, and even greatly enhance, her vision, and she might become a mother to Jasmine. For Aria, the chance to regain her eyesight, and her career, is worth risking the procedure, and she soon finds herself caring deeply for Nat and Jasmine. But when Aria’s vision begins to evolve beyond normal human capabilities, she discovers that members of a black-ops team are working on their own version of artificial vision. They’re also ruthless killers, who aim to steal Nat’s technology and create the ultimate spy. Canter (Second Nature, 2012, etc.) skillfully balances big ideas with taut action and heartfelt relationships. A bold, surprising plot twist early on adds much to the story, while Canter’s main characters are well-rounded and sympathetic. Nat’s pride in his family history of black cowboys, for example, is intriguing and incorporated well into the plot, as is Aria’s Caribbean-dance background. (Canter makes good use of his own experience drumming and singing in several musical styles.) The author also brings an informed appreciation of art and science, and delivers clear explanations for some heavy concepts in extra sections at the back of the book. Throughout the novel, real human emotions are at stake and the characters’ courage relies on heart, not weaponry.

Canter weaves together exciting action, tender relationships and plausible science in this thought-provoking thriller.