Series: Yes, #1
Publisher: Tiber City Press
Release date: May 2012
Kindly given by the author for an honest review
In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project—codename “Exodus”—has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul. Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation’s collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries. In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead—an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide. And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution....closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus—and one man’s dark vision for the future of mankind. WELCOME TO TIBER CITY.
Kingdom follows the stories of three different men: Campbell the reformed scientist, Michael Morrison the power hungry CEO, and the rich but lost young Dylan. From the very beginning the plot felt like it was building up towards some sort of collision between these characters, gathering pace as it went, and I became more and more intrigued and curious to find out how their stories might entwine. Although I couldn't easily relate to these characters, I felt a lot of sympathy for the positions they were in, often at the mercy of a harsh and unforgiving society and the evil Morrison. In particular Dylan grabbed my attention - he was surrounded by drugs, sex and the rich and famous lifestyle. Yet he struggled with the death of his father and tried to shut out his pain with cocaine, alcohol and pills. His search for answers made him vulnerable and captivating.
The atmosphere in Kingdom is very ominous and dark - O'Donnell has created a gritty and murky future, that feels like a permanent cloud is hanging over it. Society, and Tiber City in particular, suffers from extreme poverty, bountiful crime and violence, and a general feeling of apathy and desperation. I certainly hope I never end up in future like this one! This setting and context was an intrinsic part of the plot and was written in such description that I became completely immersed in the characters. I could hear, smell and see everything they could. This might not suit every reader's taste as it could slow the pace at times but it clearly sets O'Donnell's writing style as unique and eloquently graphic.
A big part of the plot was biogenetics and the alteration of human DNA. As such Kingdom had a firm base in science and I was a little surprised when the story took a turn towards exploring faith and what makes us human. It certainly added a depth to the plot and made me think about the essence of being human as well as the ethics of altering human genetics in the pursuit of perfection. Michael Morrison's attempts to perfect the human species at all costs made him a dangerous character; without any conscience or compassion he is the ultimate evil CEO scientist.
Kingdom is a powerfully descriptive and thought provoking dystopian with a dark and gritty atmosphere.
You can find out more about Anderson and his new book on:
Anderson's Website where you can download the first 4 chapters of Kingdom.