Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Enclave by Karen Hancock

Back Cover: When science tries to play God, can one man summon the courage to stand in its way?

When Lacey McHenry accepts a prestigious research fellowship at the world-renowned Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute, she sees it as a new start on life. But when a disturbing late-night encounter with a bizarre intruder leads to a cover-up by Institute authorities, she soon realizes all isn't as it seems.

Caught in an elaborate game of deception and seduction, her only ally seems to be the brilliant but absent-minded geneticist, Cameron Reinhardt. A favorite of the Institute's charismatic director, Cameron, too, came to K-J hoping to escape his past. But the more he learns about Lacey's attacker, the more he fears that the past still pursues him.

Not certain they can trust each other, Cameron and Lacey reluctantly work together to uncover the shocking secrets that lurk behind the institute's respectable facade - secrets that turn out to be bigger, stranger, and far more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

Review: I have yet to read a book by Karen Hancock that I haven't loved. She's imaginative, unpredictable, crafty, and an excellent weaver of plot and character. I know when I pick up one of her books that I will need: a) a nice big cup of tea b) a very comfortable place to cuddle c) and a few uninterrupted hours because the world will cease to exist until I'm done reading.

Now, about The Enclave. Lacey McHenry is a genetics graduate from UofA with a pretty list of accolades to her name.  However, surrounded by a deep pool of well proven geniuses, a resume like hers only lands her as far as the 'frog room' at K-J. Tasked with carrying for salamanders, rats, and of course, frogs, Lacey is a grunt at the bottom of the corporate totem pole. That is, until a freakish intruder devastates the highly secured lab, nearly kills her, and disappears without a trace. What follows next is a bizarre, twisted cover-up that runs so deep that it leaves Lacey herself wondering if she is actually going psycho. When it becomes apparent that Lacey isn't just going to hide in shame as K-J tries to label her memories as a severe case of sleep deprived anxiety stemming from a family history of mental disorders, a thick web of deceit, seduction, and two-timing begins to win her silence ... or her help to end the silence.

Cameron Reinhardt is the golden boy of the institute. He is young and positively brilliant. His research is worth billions and the director could not be more pleased with his protegee.... with the exception of a nasty little habit he can't get Cameron to shake: his Christianity. When Cameron accidently gets caught up in the drama surrounding Lacey McHenry he realizes that the director is aware of more than just his faith... the Institute knows about Afghanistan. The question is, how much do they know? His official discharge papers labeled him a bean counter, but as the institutional doors begin to close and the danger heightens, Cameron realizes that the director knows what he unlocked in the hot, arabic sands....

Beneath the sands of the Institute, another society is operating in the dark bowels of an oppressive, communist world. Labeled, "New Eden", youngsters like Zowan and Andros struggle to survive in one of the last remaining enclaves that 'The Father' has designed to preserve what was left of Earth after a horrible nuclear explosion rendered earth's surface too toxic to live on. Enslaved, experimented on, and culled like cattle, the citizens of New Eden have one purpose: to serve and worship the Father. To question his authority or their existence means the death punishment. When the two worlds collide along with an evil as ancient as earth itself, will anyone survive?

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