With the recent death of Stephen Jay Gould I have been casting about to make sure I get enough science reading in my diet. This book -- while nominally science fiction -- fits the bill. It’s fascinating. The general premise, summed up as ‘what if evolution didn’t happen gradually over time, but all of the sudden, and you could prove it?’ makes a gripping story. The story is told from the several perspectives of main characters who are involved in differing ways as the tale unfolds. They are believable and yet flawed, and make decisions the reader can understand.
The book also does not skimp on the science. While the ultimate premise is not currently correct, many of the smaller sub-premises concerning retroviruses and the study of contagious diseases and virii are spot on. I have never read another one of Bear’s novels, but if his other books are anything like this one, I will be sure to pick up anything he has done.