Chimera by Rob Thurman
Although they’re not prominently in the news at the moment, issues such as cloning and genetic manipulation still exist. The fears they trigger haven’t gone away, so novels that tackle such concepts still reflect current events. Chimera touches on genetic mutations both natural and man-made.
Stefan Korsak’s little brother Lukas was kidnapped 10 years ago, and Stefan never has abandoned the search. His position in the Russian Mafia has provided him with money and opportunity, and his efforts finally have paid off.
One daring rescue later, Lukas is free … but he has no memory of his brother or his previous life. Lukas has been altered: programmed to be a ruthless killer. But Stefan is determined to revive the little brother he remembers, even as their escape takes them into situations where Lukas’ skills are just as important as his humanity.
Thurman’s tale begins slowly, with quite a few pages devoted to Stefan’s identity as a Russian mobster-in-training. Although this backstory comes into play later, it delays the important action. But once the rescue gets underway, the novel moves along at a brisk clip.
The book raises some interesting questions about nature versus nurture. Can someone be a naturally good person, or is it something learned? Conversely, can a good person be turned bad? Readers will find a lot to think about, since we likely can relate such ideas to real-life situations.
The best stories, of course, echo real life in some way.
Thurman’s freshman foray into science fiction has produced a solid tale that both challenges and entertains readers. Chimera may not be a light read, but it’s a worthwhile novel.
Also by this author: Nightlife
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on July 15, 2010.