Every once in a while I stop writing and critiquing long enough to read a book. Admittedly, it’s not as often as I would like, and also admittedly, I’ve done a lot more of it since I moved to Chicago. It’s hard to turn off the critical writer’s brain when reading a book, but I’m getting better at it. Practice makes perfect and all that.
For those of you who don’t know Ted Kosmatka’s work, he has a knack for making hard science concepts accessible through thoughtful blending with fictional elements. In Prophet of Bones, Kosmatka turns the evolution of man on its head; in this world, carbon dating and the study of DNA have proven the creationists were right and evolutionists such as Darwin were wrong. Science and religion are friends, not enemies. That is, until strange bones are discovered during an archaeological dig on the island of Flores. What are the implication of these strange, almost-human bones? When the bones are stolen and people with the dig start dying, the fearless hero Paul looks for answers on his own.
Admittedly, the book started off a bit slow; while there is plenty of mystery and intrigue early on, the plot didn’t start to really rock and roll until half-way through. However, the slow beginning pays dividends at the end, and its well worth reading. The world Kosmatka creates is thought-provoking, the science is solid (the author includes a reference section in the back for those who want to delve into scientific papers), and the prose is clean and linear and doesn’t have much in the way of description. Fans of science-thrillers shouldn’t miss this book.