Del Rey, Dec 2003, 25.95, 496 pp.
As the Kuiper Belt anomaly grips the planet, George Poole leaves London for Manchester to sell the house of his recently deceased father and split the profit with his Florida based decade older sister. Upon entering his dad's house (his mom died ten years ago), the memories of his youth flash by the now forty-five year old George until his world crumbles. George finds a photograph of two three year old children that look like fraternal twins standing in front of his family home. The male is George, but who is this female version of him?
In post Roman Britannia, Regina misses her carefree youth that ended about the time the strange lights arose in the heavens. She travels to Rome where she establishes the Order that lives and prospers under the streets of the city even to George's time Almost two millennium later George learns that he not only has a living twin, but she was given to the Order over two score ago. He treks to Rome to find a perfect hive of evolved humans that plan to expand their web beyond the Roman underground.
COALESCENT, the first book in Stephen Baxter's Destiny's Children trilogy, is an exciting science fiction tale that uses social order to propel human evolution. The story line alternates between George in the present and Regina in the past. The clever modern day tale provokes thought on evolution and social conditioning. However, Regina's world fails to materialize as it feels more like an account than a visit. Still readers will appreciate this deep tale and look forward to further debate over the pros and cons of human COALESCENT.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner