by Kira Peikoff
Published February 28th 2012 by Tor Books
In 2027, destroying an embryo is considered first-degree murder. Fertility clinics still exist, giving hope and new life to thousands of infertile families, but they have to pass rigorous inspections by the United States Department of Embryo Preservation. Fail an inspection, and you will be prosecuted.
Brilliant young doctor Arianna Drake seems to be thriving in the spotlight: her small clinic surpasses every government requirement, and its popularity has spiked—a sudden, rapid growth that leaves the DEP chief mystified. When he discovers Arianna’s radical past as a supporter of an infamous scientist, he sends undercover agent Trent Rowe to investigate her for possible illegal activity.
As Trent is pulled into Arianna’s enigmatic world, his own begins to unravel. The secret he finally uncovers will deeply move him—and jeopardize them both. With the clock ticking her life away, he finds himself questioning everything he knows to be true, and then must summon the courage to take the greatest risk of all. Nothing less than human life—and a major scientific breakthrough—hang in the balance.
A thought-provoking thriller by debut author Kira Peikoff, Living Proof is a celebration of love and life that cuts to the core of a major cultural debate of our time.
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Publication Date: February 28th 2012
Publisher: Tor Books
Format: eARC, 368 pages
It's the year of 2027 and the line separating the Church and the State is growing very thin.
Dr. Arianna Drake owns a private clinic in Manhattan. A clinic she makes sure never stands out from the others. Why? Because she's doing highly illegal business inside. She buys eggs from donors, fertilizes them and uses the embryos for stem cell research.
She longs to find a cure for many diseases, but especially MS (multiple sclerosis), a disorder that slowly ends thousands of people's lives. However, if her actions are ever discovered, she will ahve to deal with more than just a fine or a bad reputation. She can be accused of manslaughter. Charged with genocide, or worse. What she's doing can be considered the "21st century version of Hitler's ovens.". But she and all of her peers don't see it quite like that.
Trent Rowe, 37, is an inspector at the New York Department of Embryo Preservation (DEP). All DEP inspectors are allowed entrance to any fertility clinic at any time they want, to "ensure that all clinics are preserving the souls of embryos". The DEP considers every single extrauterine embryo as an unborn child. That means that no embryo can ever go missing or, God forbid, be destroyed. If they do, there'll be very serious consequences to the criminals. To avoid that, every single egg and sperm combination is be documented, checked and rechecked every month. Or, depending, every week.
Trent wants to do well o his job and impress his superiors, so when he finds an unusual spike in popularity at Arianna's clinic from his routine reports, he knows it might be his last chance to do so.
Arianna and her fellow doctors see embryos as bundles of cells that can bring cure and change lives. The Church sees them as unborn babies, pure and innocent. Who is right? And to what point?
I've always enjoyed a good controversial subject, so when I saw this book I knew right away I had to read it. And it was fantastic!
The author knew perfectly well how to portray both sides of Science and religion. Their very different and polemic opinions, their strong beliefs and the reasons that propelled them into choosing that side.
Like everybody else, I have my own opinion, but I could very well understand where the other side got theirs. I'm not saying I agreed with them, but I... well, I got to respect their view of things.
I really liked Arianna and Trent. I felt sorry for them and found myself cheering for both (even with them having opposing views and purposes in life).
Trent's religious confusion was fascination to read about. How mad, guilty and safe the church made him feel all the time. Sometimes at the same time. And how disappointed he was with certain things involving religious people. He was such a complex and contradictory character!! I think many catholics would be able to see a bit of themselves in him.
Kira Peikoff delivers an excellent thriller that makes us see how dangerously close reality is getting to fiction.
* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*