In Abuttu’s sci-fi/thriller debut, human-animal hybrids try to survive in a world outside the lab while military operatives and others with sinister intent pursue them.
Miriam Wetzel and Ben Skylar’s top-secret scientific project to create pig-humans seems to be on the verge of failure until two of a sow’s 11 fetuses manage to survive. The scientists are funded by the Cullers, a covert group led by a man named Harper on behalf of the U.S. military. When a tornado destroys their South Dakota lab and most of their research, Miriam and Ben pack their bags and the babies, a girl named Binah and a boy named Gevu, and head to California. Later, a man comes to the scientists’ aid following a major road accident; he apparently sees too much, which leads to his execution. Meanwhile, Chet, a former Army Ranger, is plotting with an outside organization to take the babies for themselves. The pig-humans mature and acquire knowledge rapidly and soon escape their government captivity with Miriam and Ben’s help. But soon more attempts at breeding and cloning pig-humans ensue. Abuttu’s novel has shades of horror and science fiction, but its thriller elements drive the plot, including quite a number of abductions and betrayals. Dark but fascinating plot turns abound, such as the revelation of the military’s purpose for the original experiment and how one person effectively orchestrates an epidemic—and why. The decidedly adult story features very graphic violence, including scenes involving rape, torture, and amputation. However, Abuttu’s story is also allegorical even if it’s occasionally too on-the-nose: “Humans were the beasts,” Gevu realizes after witnessing atrocities at a pig farm.
A riveting tale that will excite and enlighten many readers, although its violence may repulse a few.