Monday, March 15, 2010

Science and Terrorism

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

The Y Factor
By Liam Roberts

In the prologue of The Y Factor, a friend of the main character disappears in Cairo, Egypt. But the promise of exciting action is not delivered right away. The beginning chapters set the scene and introduced the main characters slowly enough to make me wonder if the book would be worth reading. It was. Once the action starts it continues to escalate as Eric Colburn uses his computer expertise to uncover a Muslim plot.

Roberts chose an appropriate plot for a Christian international intrigue novel. When the Christian protagonists uncover a Muslim conspiracy they have a lot of opportunities to compare the two worldviews. The premise is fascinating, although sometimes Roberts’ handling of both Biblical accounts and Muslim jihad is heavy handed. In addition he has to give the reader a crash course in genetics. He handles all of these fairly well, by inserting them into dialogue, but usually it makes one of the characters sound like she’s lecturing.

The book not only has plenty of action but I couldn’t help wondering why Eric didn’t get more support from professionals, such as the Department of Homeland Security. It seemed a little unrealistic that an amateur was on his own in resolving the biggest threat to the world since – well, I’ll let you read it to find out.

There is also a growing romance between Eric and his girlfriend, Alana. Alana is a strong Christian and Eric is a nominal one, although his faith grows as he confronts danger and is forced to rely on God to get him out of it. Roberts depicts both of their faith well, but I couldn’t help being disappointed in Alana. One of my pet peeves in Christian fiction is the committed Christian women who fall in love with unbelievers – or nominal believers. In real life, the guy too often doesn’t come to know the Lord. But aside from this, the book has a strong Christian message without sounding preachy.

Pros: International intrigue with a complicated plot. The author has clearly done a lot of work to create realistic events within an international scientific community.

Cons: There is a lot of specialized information in several different areas. Sometimes the book feels like a lecture and sometimes it uses technical language without enough explanation.

About the book:

In this medical and political thriller, two employees of The Genographic Project (National Geographic's attempt to map human genes to create a comprehensive family tree) have stumbled upon a plot by Dr. Ahmed Alomari. Dr. Alomari is convinced that genetic data will reveal Ishmael - not Jacob - the rightful heir to God's covenant with Abraham thousands of years ago.

When his plot is threatened, al Qaeda offers protection and provision: centering the two young TGP employees in their crosshairs.

About the author:

With two sons fighting al Qaeda as he typed the manuscript, Liam Roberts was wise to take precautions. Families of soldiers have been advised of the terrorist plot to threaten family members stateside, thereby impacting a soldier's ability to focus while at war.

So, we should tell you, Liam Roberts isn't his real name. The information in The Y Factor, though, well, we'll let you read it and do your own Googling afterwards.

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