Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Review: The Enclave by Karen Hancock

Before I start my way through the slight backlog of reviews here, I will let you know that voting for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction is open for a couple more days. If you’ve read at least two of the nominations, hop over and use your vote...

I will, of course, be supporting those in the science fiction corner, starting with this, Karen Hancock's second sci-fi tale.

The story opens with Lacey McHenry, latest recruit at the Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute, butting heads with the Institute's rising star, Cameron Reinhardt. After Lacey is attacked late one night, the two of them form an uneasy alliance, and go on to uncover the shady side of the Institute's work.

This story is interwoven with a second, entirely seperate story, set in New Eden, the Enclave of the title, where a few lucky survivors shelter underground from the poisoned world above. As the novel progresses, puzzling links between the two threads become apparent.

There is a lot to like about this novel. Reinhardt is a possibly odd combination of soldier and genetic scientist, but as a Christian character he is nicely flawed. Lacey too is a lapsed Christian, and both of them have a believable and not overdone faith experience during the course of their adventures.

And the theme of genetic manipulation allows the Christian characters to think about that most useful Biblical word (to spec-fic writers anyway): Nephilim. The mysterious nature of these creatures makes them an easy subject for Christian sci-fi, but here they are nicely understated.

So this is my pick for the Clive Staples; a well-told science fiction adventure with believably flawed Christians. What more can a person ask for?

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