What drew to me this book was the premise. What kept me going in the book was the action, complete with multiple twists and turns.
The Atlantis Gene is a first novel for A. G. Riddle, but it is hard to tell. The premise is one of the freshest I have come across in a long time. It is a very complex story, and even at 452 pages I found that it took me through too much too fast. You really have to pay attention.
The premise is this: 70,000 years ago, the human race was almost snuffed out, dropping down to just about 1,000 people. Then there was a significant evolutionary jump, what anthropologists call The Great Leap Forward. What if that leap forward was artificially created by another race, a group referred to as the Atlanteans (yes, that Atlantis), who were so far ahead of the rest of humanity that they decided to destroy everyone but a select few and genetically assist their forward progress?
Enter a secret society called the Immari. They are convinced that another holocaust is coming soon, and they plan to do something about it, something very drastic. On top of this you have a international intelligence agency called Clockwork, with agents who work secretly to fight terrorism in ways that other organizations can’t. It’s a formula for action, lots of it.
I was impressed when I discovered that this was a first novel. But that’s not to say that it is flawless. Like many other thrillers, the story is long on action and short on characterization. With the level of complexity in the story, I found myself time and again trying to figure out who everyone was. On top of that, several characters assume new names halfway through the book. The two main characters really needed more identity, but as I already mentioned, because the story is so complex, that was one of the things that got left behind.
In addition, chapters are very short. The book ends up with 153 chapters, which I found unwieldy. Scenes are often very short, which makes it hard to follow what is going on, especially with multiple plotlines.
This is the first of a series. It took me a good month, on and off, to read this first book. If I get the second book, I will wait until summer when I have more time to concentrate on it. It’s a fascinating premise, skillfully pursued, but with a few kinks.
I give it 3 and a half stars out of five.