Heather A. Hartel
on Dec. 1, 2014 :
This book had a neat premise--a group of scientists, the Nolanites, form a religion around a coded message that was received at the SETI project and translated by a scientist-turned-prophet. The prophecy basically involves an alien invasion of the earth, so the Nolanite's purpose is to try and figure out how to save humanity through scientific developments when the invasion hits. It's set in the near future where everyone has instant access to the internet through an implanted device, which not everyone can have. The implant can provide information, but it can also control people through the power of suggestion, and this is what the Nolanites do....control their followers through their implants.
The main character, Craig, doesn't have an implant, but, perhaps ironically, remains a devout follower of the Nolanite doctrine. His sister Rebecca, however, is an apostate and, though conflicted, joins up with the government who feels the need to suppress the group after an extremist wing tries to launch a nuclear defense weapon into space. The government attempts to socially engineer the extremist under Rebecca's advice, giving them some land to build a community on and monitoring them and their leader. However, things get a bit out of hand when the community grows to include non-extremists, and an interesting discovery is made in the mountains surrounding the settlement that only Craig understands. All of this leads up to an exciting final few chapters with car chases, explosions and a dramatic escape.
There's also a couple of love stories intertwined in the book..one failed and one triumphant. The characters are believable, human and not over-simplified. There's some nice subtleties in the interactions and motivations of the “bad guys,” and the good guys are likable and lack arrogance. Overall it was a great read. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to seeing if there's a sequel.
(reviewed the day of purchase)