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Book Review of Ember from the Sun

Ember from the Sun
Readnmachine avatar reviewed on + 1439 more book reviews


You don't have to believe five impossible things before breakfast in order to enjoy this book -- you only have to grant author Mark Canter one teensy little fudge in what we now think we know about human reproduction and the border between life and death. If you give him that inch, he will carry you off on an adventure that crosses more than miles.

When paleontologist Yute Nahadeh discovers the body of a Neanderthal woman in an Alaskan ice cave, he is understandably excited about the find. But when he discovers a viable embryo in the preserved-but-not-frozen tissue, he grabs at the incredible opportunity to bring the tiny collection of cells to fruition as a living, breathing link to the stone-age era he has studied all his life.

Predictably, not everything turns out according to his plan. Whisked out of his control by her surrogate mother, Ember grows into young womanhood knowing she is different from everyone around her. Her own search to find her people -- about whom she knows nothing -- leads her and ultimately the people she loves into deadly peril, and it will take everything she has ever learned or sensed to survive.

This is one helluva good book. The characters are crisp and real -- from the confused young woman Ember grows into, to the morally ambiguous Nahadeh, to the Native American couple who reared her and the Native community into which Ember struggles to fit, they breathe on every page.

Early in the book, Canter sets up the conflict that will come to a heart-pounding conclusion 500-some pages down the road. If the villain of the piece -- a mining company intent on extracting gold from Native lands, regardless of the environmental cost -- is less than original in concept, it is at least well presented.

This is a book to be devoured in as few sittings as possible. Set aside your conception of what is "real" and what is "scientifically possible", and hang on for an amazing ride.