From Publishers Weekly
Naslund (Ahab's Wife) delivers a cheesy blend of futuristic thriller, pseudoreligious speculation, and idyllic romance. In 2017, Lucy Bergmann's astrophysicist husband is murdered just before he is to reveal the existence of extraterrestrial life. Now, as the keeper of a copy of his data, Lucy's being stalked by the leaders of a sect called Perpetuity, who intend to destroy any challenge to their fundamentalist beliefs. And when Lucy agrees to transport an ancient scroll that offers an alternate version of the Book of Genesis from Cairo to the Dordogne, she becomes a double target. Lucy pilots a plane (this convenient ability is indicative of the preposterous plot) and crash-lands in Mesopotamia, where she meets a gorgeous, naked man named Adam (an American GI gone a touch nutty) who nurses her back to health in a facsimile of the Garden of Eden. Their chaste but busy domesticity is eventually threatened by the evil Perpetuity crew, and they face even more danger after an escape to France. It's embarrassingly bad in every way, from the dopey conceit of a 21st-century Eden to the paper-thin characters who spout ersatz philosophy and spiritual theorizing while enjoying the cloying clichés of romance fiction.
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This outlandish stew of biblical analogy, political thriller, futuristic speculation, and old-fashioned adventure story by the best-selling author of Ahab’s Wife (1999) teases and frustrates the reader. Lucy Bergmann is, in her own words, an “ordinary wife of a revered man.” Her husband, highly regarded in the international scientific community, has discovered evidence of extraterrestrial life. Accompanied by Lucy, he takes his findings to a conference in Cairo (the time is a decade from now) and unexpectedly dies there, leaving his material in Lucy’s care. Adding to the distress of sudden widowhood and guardianship of revolutionary data, she is asked to smuggle to Europe an ancient codex offering a new version of the Book of Genesis. The plane she pilots—yes, she just happens to be a pilot!—crashes, affording her an encounter with the gorgeous Adam, an injured, delusional American soldier. They build a relationship in what they regard as Eden, but they must eventually forsake this lush garden to rejoin society; the whys and hows of their expulsion are an even match with the amazing events that have come before. For the first half of the novel, there may be reluctance to suspend disbelief in the incredible events that unfold. Eventually, however, many will find the metaphorical loftiness engaging. --Brad Hooper