Roc, May 2002, 6.99, 379 pp.
In the future when war broke out, the scientists were so eager to win that they unleashed the Medusa Bomb, a weapon of mass destruction that turned whole cities and its in habitants into crystal. They forgot to put in a fail-safe so the mass of crystal is still spreading. People turned away from science and embraced religion once again.
The net is replaced by the Link, a sophisticated form of the web accessed by implants or external neural jewelry. To have access to the Link, one must be a citizen, but to be a citizen one must belong to a recognized religion. The pope had a dream involving Page, an AI who lives in the link and Emmaline the Inquisitor. On the strength of his dream, the pope charges Emmaline with the task of finding out if AIs have a soul. In the course of her investigation, she meets and is attracted to Morningstar, who wants to corrupt the AI for his own purposes. Morningstar, Emmaline and the Page are linked together in ways that become apparent as the world hurtles towards Armageddon.
FALLEN HOST is reminiscent of Huxley's Brave New World only the author uses the trappings of religion to show how those in authority repress the citizenry. The story line is intense, intelligent, and interesting. Lydia Morehouse is a very talented and creative writer who manages to use elements of theology, science fiction and sociology to construct a very believable world.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner