Sunday, December 31, 2006


by Andrew Salmon
327 pages
Available at (

This is a straight out science fiction detective thriller that fires on all cylinders. In the not too distant future, the world has been ravaged by a series of natural disasters that have decimated the population. To help rebuild societies around the globe, mankind has taken to producing clones. But not just any clones, rather those created from the DNA of dedicated police officers and fire fighters. The idea here is to produce, from old stock, a new cadre of selfless guardians to protect the fragile remains of humanity.

Into this world comes clone, Peter Reilly, grown from the cells of a much decorated Vancouver detective. Once out of the vats, C-Peter Reilly, the prefix obviously designating his artificial origins, soon learns that something has gone terribly awry in his maturation. Clones are grown with the memories of past lives erased so that they don’t have carry around baggage of lost tragedies. Minus these emotional hang-ups, they can enter this new world with a clean slate. But something is wrong with Reilly. He has memories of his first life, of his wife and children and the world before the devastation.

Such information is considered taboo amongst the governing councils responsible for cloning and should his secret be discovered, he would instantly be mind-wiped. Reilly must keep the fact of his memories to himself, at the same time attempt to cope both mentally and physically with his “second” life.

Salmon’s writing reminded me a great deal of the late Robert Heinlein. He approached classic science-fiction with a new perspective grounded in believable characters so that the reader is never overwhelmed by the strange new worlds the tale unfolds in. Rather C-Peter Reilly is so fully realized, he draws us in to his frightening and exhilarating life. How he copes with his loneliness, anger and ultimate resolve is the true core of the book. If I’ve any real criticism, it is the fact that THE DARK LAND is the first in a proposed series, and too much time is spent on the existing social make up of this post-holocaust environment. I would have preferred more action and focus on the actual murder mystery Reilly is assigned to solve. It seems to take a back stage chair until the climax where it is wrapped up much too quickly. Hopefully future chapters will even the action pacing with the exposition.

All in all and solid thriller that should sought out. Salmon has a bright future ahead of him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a book I need to check out!