4.0 out of 5 stars -- I love a fast-paced medical thriller with solid science and one that explores controversial subjects. In this case, the subject is embryonic stem cell research and religion.
Set in a not-too-distant future, 2027, the lines between church and state have dissolved making it a crime to destroy an embryo. A special police agency has been set up to track down and prosecute anyone in violation. The US Department of Embryo Preservation (USDEP) is vigilant and inspects all fertility clinics to monitor the doctors and the status of all embryos. In addition, any pregnant woman who so much as has a sip of champagne or skips a prenatal appointment, is fined heavily. It is the ultimate in pro-life protection mandated by law that is not hard to see coming to pass in our own present.
Dr. Arianna Drake, OBGYN fertility specialist, is trying to circumvent the system -- she has a personal reason -- rapidly advancing Multiple Sclerosis. She manipulates the numbers at her fertility clinic and is secretly diverting eggs to a private hidden lab where some scientists are working on the outlawed embryonic stem cell research in order to halt the progress of her disease. For, unlike adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells can be made to differentiate into ANY type of cell in the human body. The USDEP is suspicious of Arianna and sends an investigator undercover to gain her trust and expose her crimes. Trent Rowe is completely righteous and totally loyal to the strong christian values with which he was raised. Can he trick Ariana into revealing her illegal activities and put her in prison where she belongs?
This novel explores the power of religion and the debate surrounding embryonic stem cell research and the pro-life movement. I would suspect that anyone who has strong convictions regarding these topics would have a reaction to the premise and resolution in this novel. Definitely a hot button topic of a sensitive nature that tends to polarize people and would provide for some great discussion.