What's left of humanity is on a 1,000- year mission that may all be one big lie. Hana Dempsey is a city planner on Noah, a large spaceship carrying the survivors of Earth on a 1000-year voyage to a new world. She's happy with her life and a believer on the ship's mission until she meets policeman Leonard Barrens. He's investigating the mysterious death of his partner and needs Shana's help yo dig into the city's databases for info on a mysterious killer that seems to turn people into a pile of mincemeat.
Click here to see the rest of this review
But as they investigate further, they realize that lots of people are dead and/or missing. They realize that at least some of Noah's crew have to be part of the conspiracy and that draws the attention of the ship's security police. Barrens disappears and begins to recruit like-minded people to join his investigation-turned-rebellion. Hana eventually joins him and the group begins uncovering a troubling number of mysteries.
On one exploration of unused parts of the ship, they see large monsters that are part human and part something else. They realize these creatures are actually the babies of crewmen. But if that's the case, then where do the new human babies come from?
Some of Barrens' group want to overthrow Noah's current society and he and Hansard decide to join the ship's security services and stop the revolt. The members of the resistance demand the truth, but as Barren and Hansard try and stop the revolt, they learn a number of horrible truths.
The deaths weren't caused by killers, but by some genetic defect that causes everyone's body to fall apart at some random time. The disease was brought to Earth on a crashed alien ship and that ship was used by the last of Earth's survivors to escape. Even worse, Hansard and everyone she knows are essentially clones and the real survivors of Earth are in a deep sleep until they arrive at their new home.
As Hana refines an artificial intelligence she hopes will stop the revolt, she discovers she is dying. As she dies, she uploads her memories into the computer, where she plans to prevent anyone else from learning the truth about Noah and it's mission. Lying is the only way to protect the sleeping crew and she's willing to live forever in the computer to protect everyone from the real story.
Best part of story, including ending:
I've read a number of 'last survivors of Earth on a spaceship' stories, but this one had some unique twists. I was especially surprised by the revelations of the genetic causes of the death and of the real identity of the Noah crew.
Best scene in story:
One of the more jarring scenes in the book is when Hansard and Barrens discover those monsters are actually the children of the crew. She had recently given birth and her realization of the fate of her child was chilling.
Opinion about the main character:
Hansard Dempsey undergoes a remarkable transformation in the book, from civil servant worker drone to the one person who might be able to save Noah's mission. But the changes make sense and she is a very believable and likeable heroine.