Set in the not-so-distant future, molecular paleobiologist, Sandra LaFaccia, and image archivist, Fred Edwards, work at the Oriental Institute, a Egyptology research branch of the University of Chicago. Fixated on observing a live clone, they set out to do just that; carefully cloning ancient Egyptian royal, Akhenaten. Opening a reproduction agency as their cover, they implant Akhenaten’s DNA inside of human embryo’s and into unsuspecting surrogates over the span of several years. They eventually shut down the project after six years and go their separate ways seemingly abandoning everything.
“It sure wouldn’t do your reputation any good if your clients learned you had provided four identical twins to four different families.”
The Tut Clone Contracts, by Jan Issaye Berkhout, is nothing short of creative and ripe with controversy. The beginning feels slow as the narrator explains the historical ideas and scientific manufacturing of the clones. At times, it was difficult to connect with the characters. As Berkhout relies heavily on second person point of view, causing the story too read more like a scientific journal at times. However, once the story picks up pace and the characters take control of the story, it’s as if an entirely new story comes to life leaving readers genuinely intrigued and enthralled in what’s to come.
But, don’t let the little things overshadow the fact that once you climb over those small hurdles The Tut Clone Contracts will leave you captivated and possibly a bit scared as cloning really exists. Book IV in the book takes a major turn with this all too real conundrum and element of mystery and intrigue that is finally found that enlivens the story and draws the reader back in, page by page, as the climatic adventure of finding yourself, but not yourself, and retaking Egypt begins. Putting the awkward point of view aside, the science, history, mystery, and scandal will surely win you over. The Tut Clone Contracts might start out slow, but once it peaks, there is no turning back as you won’t be able to put the book down.