It’s post-9/11, and post-10/17, when Al Queda terrorists launched a missile into Philadelphia’s football stadium during an Eagles-Redskins game, releasing Keragesin-D, a potent neurotoxin, into the air. Death toll 29,000. And life went on.
In some ways, it is a new world. Once-feared diseases have been conquered. It is the rare child who suffers from congenital abnormalities. Infertile couples have more options for conception. Churches thrive and grow, preaching God’s universal love and compassion for all beings.
But in most ways, it’s the same weary old world. The Mideast is a still powderkeg, and America is still dependent on foreign oil. Racial profiling still exists, only the race profiled has changed from African to Arab. People still battle over when life begins; the debate now extends into the first year after birth.
Brothers Bryan and Jeffrey Lawe have dedicated their lives to service. Jeffrey serves with the NYPD. He has a wife, Brenda, and a four-year old daughter, Melody, and he wants the world to be better for them. Bryan is a Secret Service agent in President Matt Bridger’s detail.
Early in the book, Bryan’s girlfriend, Karen, becomes public relations officer for Sacred Child, a human rights organization that comes against Quality Life. Quality Life has made many contributions to medical science through research on embryos and fetuses. Quality Life provides medical technology and transplantable organs that improve and save the lives of thousands of children and adults every year. They perform their public service by giving mothers of unviable children the opportunity to use their misfortune to help other children. The children who would die anyway contribute their organs to help other children live.
The battle between Sacred Child and Quality Life is like the pebble thrown into a pool, making ripples in an apparently calm world. As the story develops, though, the ripples widen. Russia runs out of oil; OPEC uses the opportunity to cut off oil to the US until and unless she drops her alliance with Israel. Mideast tension rises, and Israel prepares for war. The ripples become a tidal wave when a nuclear explodes in downtown Manhattan on 4/18. Death toll 2.4 million. And life goes on…at least for a little while longer.
If you enjoy fast-moving suspense, you’ll enjoy A Form of Godliness. It’s a believable extrapolation of current events into a not-too-distant future world where the potential for total annihilation of the human race once again looms dangerously close. The plot is tense and unpredictable but satisfying in its outcome. The dialogue is crisp and real. The characters are a little two-dimensional, but they still feel real. You want to know them better. I especially appreciated the subtlety of some characters’ quirkiness—like a President who can cook like a chef, and Karen, whose cooking is too creative to taste good. The quirks helped give a little more dimension to the characters.
This was an enjoyable read, but with sobering overtones. A sequel is coming…I’m looking forward to spending another few days with these characters.