April 22, 2015
The Murder of Adam and Eve, by William Dietrich
In this fast-paced and thought-provoking thriller, two teens time-travel to prehistoric Africa to judge whether to save our ancestors: the genetic “Adam” and “Eve” whose descendants will go on to populate the world. When 16-year-old Nick Brynner explores an old fort on a forbidden island for a school history project, he stumbles onto a time wormhole. What follows is a mysteriously deserted village with a prowling sentry that looks like a gargoyle, and narrow escape with the help of fellow teen Eleanor Brynner. The two are hurtled into a grim series of challenges by an alien race called the Xu, which are considering a Reset of human history because of our poor planetary stewardship. If Adam and Eve are murdered, will another couple, or another species, do better? Nick and Ellie are ruthlessly deposited onto the African savanna of fifty thousand years ago, and the hunt is on. The Murder of Adam and Eve is a coming of age story, a love story, a war story, and an environmental fable with a deliberately provocative ending, inspired by such books as “Walkabout,” “Ishmael,” “Lord of the Flies,” and the author’s own “Getting Back.” If you could change history…would you?
This book was engaging, and I had to carve out extra reading time in my regular routine so I could finish it ahead of schedule. I had a little concern, because some reviewers painted a picture of this book being some sort of “Environmentalist Agenda.” I found this laughable; it wasn’t an agenda, but a plot point, and a novel one at that.
I could possibly read into the overarching themes of totalitarianism of the Xu, but instead I simply read an entertaining page-turner. I read a considerable amount of words every week and write as well, so not many story twists work. The twist at the end of this story was both unanticipated and welcome. I love it when an author can trick me.
The story flowed smoothly, and I can only recall a single line in the story that I had to reread because it was unclear. The characters were very believable and I enjoyed this story immensely. I highly recommend this story to not only sci-fi and fantasy readers, but also those interested in the potential origins of religion. While this isn’t a story specifically focused on religion, I see themes that relate to my own studies of religion and psychology.
Five out of five starts is my rating, and I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen to me to read it.
William Dietrich is a NY Times bestselling author of the Ethan Gage series, seven books which have sold into 28 languages. He is also the author of six other adventure novels, several nonfiction works on the environmental history of the Pacific Northwest, and a contributor to several books.