I am a big fan of alternate histories, and the concept here is a good one, if a little more far-fetched than most in the genre. The execution of the story leaves a bit to be desired and I found the author's characterizations weak.
First of a series about Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, a much younger woman invented by the author who becomes involved with the famous detective. (She is his equal in deductive intelligence, which makes for some interesting stories and equally interesting dialogue.)
I'm a sucker for historical fiction, and I've read a lot of it, some very good and some atrocious, so I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. This book also takes place in a time and place (Trojan-war aftermath in the Mediterranean) that I haven't read much about, so I was a little hesitant, not being a huge fan of classical mythology. To my very pleasant surprise I found this both extremely well written and a great story to boot. The author, who I definitely want to read more of, did a great job of making accessible the lives of these long-ago people who had a very different view of the world than we do.
This is a really good hard-sci fi first contact story. The book is well written, the characters are well drawn and sympathetic, and the aliens are enough alien to be intriguing and enough like us that we can empathize with them. A very ecological theme runs through the book.
There is a sequel to this book that takes place on Earth (this one takes place on the aliens' world). The sequel is not nearly as good as this is, I think.
Is this series flawed? Yes. Are the characters occasionally annoying? Yes. Was I able to put it down before I finished? No, and that's the only metric that really matters for me. The story really grabbed me, the world of witches, vampires and "daemons" seemed really fresh (amazing given the overexposure of the paranormal in recent years), and (best of all) it wasn't unrelentingly dark.
The Genesis Secret is an intense and engaging read. It's a little disturbing that the best-drawn character is the psycho killer. The other characters are mostly fill-in-the blank. Definitely a plot-driven book. Be warned that there are scenes of intense gory violence and mind-boggling cruelty.
This is the opening volume in what I consider one of the top 5 SF series ever written (I guess I would rank Dune as the top SF series). The writing is superior, characters well drawn, and the plotting excellent. Written for adults (in the good sense of that word). These books are on my keeper shelf - have read the whole series twice already and will do so again!
Having read both this and the author's later book "Water Stone Heart" it's easy to see that "The Long Walk Home" was his first effort. While a good story, it's not nearly as good at Water Stone Heart (in my opinion). The story seems rather contrived in places; WSH has a better flow to it. Having said this, however, I can still recommend TLWH. The characters were good and the author made me care about them, which make up for a lot of shortcomings.