Amazon Exclusive: Daniel H. Wilson Discusses What Makes Prophet of Bones Worth Staying Up Too Late
Prophet of Bones is a well-written, utterly convincing thriller that left my mind reeling for days. It latched on after the first chapter and didn't let go until the last word.
Ted Kosmatka's novel is a bloody, yet profoundly introspective, thriller that's not set so much in a near-future world as in a near-alternate world. This is a place where science has proven evolution wrong and radio carbon dating shows the earth is about 6000 years old. The seamless blending of science and theology is fascinating, moreso when scientist Paul Carlsson discovers a set of ancient human bones that shouldn't exist. His quest to requite the two worlds-–to seek the truth at all costs-–will destroy his life and take the reader on a trip that is half detective work and half old-fashioned butt-kicking (with a side of biology, genetics, and paleoanthropology).
Despite the sheer fun of reading Prophet of Bones, the underlying themes are what elevate the material. You are left wondering about the shared origin of humanity, the lost branches of human sub-species, and whether knowing more really helps us understand ourselves. Is it more tempting to play God in a world where science and religion are the same thing?
Kosmatka is a full-time writer at Valve Software, the company behind the massively popular video games Half-Life and Portal. Maybe it's my imagination, but I occasionally caught beautiful facets of those games lurking under the surface of Prophet of Bones. In the novel as in the games, our heroes are scientists, our villains are scientists, and their creations... well, just wait until you meet their creations.
What else can I say? Prophet of Bones is as thoughtful as it is thrilling. It kept me up way, way past my bedtime.