Identical twins have been the storyteller's friend since Roman times. Master-scribbler Ken Follett does the arrangement one better in his latest yarn, The Third Twin
. The heroine, Jeannie Ferrami, is a young professor at Jones Falls University (JFU)(think Johns Hopkins) who is investigating the balance of nature versus nurture in criminality. Driven by a secret from her past, Dr. Ferrami is overjoyed to find that a straight-arrow law student at JFU has an identical twin (raised separately) who is a convicted rapist. She is not overjoyed, however, when that man is arrested for raping her best friend. Surely Mr. Perfect couldn't be guilty--enter the evil masterminds, three Nixon-era compadres who have been toiling for decades to make America safe for racial purity. It's bad enough that one of the conspirators is Dr. Ferrami's boss, but another is eyeing the Oval Office. The young professor has stumbled onto a secret that could ruin them all, and it's only a matter of pages before bad things start to happen to the pair. The shortest distance between two points is a Follett plot. Look elsewhere for subtlety; entertainment, we got.
From Publishers Weekly
After three consecutive historical sagas (A Dangerous Fortune, etc.), Follett returns to the threshold of the 21st century with a provocative, well-paced and sensational biotech-thriller about the genetic manipulation of human embryos. Striving to prove that offspring genetically predisposed toward aggression can learn to sublimate their combative nature through childhood conditioning by socially responsible parents, a feisty and brilliant young university researcher, Jeannie Ferrami, develops software to identify identical twins who have been reared apart. When she stumbles across what seems to be an impossibility?identical twins born to different mothers at separate locations on different dates, Jeannie runs into serious trouble. Pitted against her is, foremost, her own faculty mentor, Berrington Jones, a world-renowned authority on biotechnical engineering. In devious partnership with another scientist and a bigoted U.S. senator with presidential aspirations, Jones is co-founder of Genetico, a small company that pioneered biogenetic research. The trio is now in the final stages of a lucrative friendly buyout by a corporate giant?and they don't take kindly to Jeannie's diggings. Multiples created by genetic manipulation aren't new to thrillers (e.g., Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil), but Follett puts a clever spin on the concept. And despite entwining outlandish plot strands of biotechnical skullduggery, a neo-Nazi candidate for president, academic politics and corporate greed with a steamy romance between Jeannie and one of the twins, the novel shines with the authenticity that's Follett's trademark as it explores the Internet and the mind-boggling data banks of personal statistics maintained by insurance empires, the Pentagon and the FBI. This isn't Follett's most sophisticated novel?it's heavy on the melodrama and on sexual violence?but its wicked narrative energy and catchy theme will likely propel it quickly onto the charts. Major ad/promo; simultaneous Random House audio and large-print editions; author satellite tour;
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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