The Genesis ProtocolBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at March 22, 2006 - 6:00 PM GMT
Title: The Genesis Protocol
Author: Dayton Ward
Release Date: January 2006
Format: Trade Paperback
Having served eleven years in the United States Marine Corps, it comes as no surprise that Dayton Ward should be able to so realistically portray a group of Marines in his new novel The Genesis Protocol. Mr. Ward has proven time and again that he knows how to tell a great Star Trek story; his writing style is a natural fit for a grand adventure tale. With The Genesis Protocol, however, Ward has written a first-rate bio-thriller with a very different kind of setting: modern day Earth.
The EDN project, a government directed man-made ecosystem in the Utah desert is a highly toxic living laboratory that is supposed to be under total scientific control. "New Eden" is an attempt to find a way to correct the abuses and imbalances inflicted on the environment using biotechnology and genetic engineering to design plants and animals with the ability to "clean" toxic sites. When a team of scientists goes missing inside the deadly jungle, a small Marine unit is dispatched to rescue the trapped scientists, but they soon find themselves facing the nightmarish results of science run amok.
The Genesis Protocol is a surprisingly intimate story, the majority of which takes place within the confines of the EDN project. As such, the story is heavily dependent on the reader quickly identifying with the main characters and Ward expedites the character development with built-in relationships that allow you to do just that. Senator Christopher, for example, who arrives for a fact finding tour of EDN as the story opens, is the father of one of the missing scientists, Elizabeth Christopher, and combat hardened Gunnery Sergeant Donovan Hassler has a history with the EDN security chief Shannon Rolero.
Those relationships allow the author to provide much of the exposition within the character interactions allowing the narrative to move quickly forward and the suspense to build quickly. Ward writes with the assurance of someone completely at home with his subject. He also pays particular attention to each character using the right vernacular. The jarheads sound like jarheads, the scientists like scientists and the politicians just like politicians.
The story itself is simple, straightforward and filled with tension. The cover may lead you to think that The Genesis Protocol is a retelling of Jurassic Park and while it does share some similarities with that book, they are two entirely different stories. There are no dinosaurs running around "New Eden". The terrors the protagonists face in The Genesis Protocol are man-made...which makes them even more horrifying.
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.