Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CSFF Tour: Review - The Enclave

The Enclave, the latest book by Karen Hancock, takes us to a very near future in a techno-thriller vehicle. Cameron Reinhardt is a brilliant geneticist working at what appears to be a last chance job after a strange occurance at his past employer that leaves him on the verge of professional ruin. When he helps new hire Lacey McHenry after a strange encounter leaves her injured, he inserts himself into a cover-up for a mysterious conspiracy.

Cameron has the opportunity to join the elite inner circle of the Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute if he will only go along with the brushing aside of Lacey's incident. Oh, and losing his Christian faith would be a bonus. However, as Lacey gets drawn deeper into dangerous circumstances, Cameron must draw on past experiences he'd rather forget in order to survive and escape The Enclave.
Karen Hancock has the perfect pedigree to write a story like this. She has a degree in biology, she's written award-winning fantasy, and she deeply believes in the power of speculative fiction to tell stories that regular fiction can't really address.

The story starts with a bang, but then it slows some to develop the characters and set up the story further. It took a little while in these opening chapters to get really engaged in the plot and plight of the characters. Soon she hits her stride, and the book becomes a page-turner that is hard to put down.

The world of the KJ Longevity Institute, as well as other worlds, are displayed with real, believable details, without getting too heavy on the technical terms. Cameron and Lacey are given strong traits that drive and distinguish them, both positive and negative traits, that makes them seem like real people. Some of the antagonists in the scientific hierarchy are not portrayed with similar depth, and the conflict between the sides suffers a little from this.

There are many thematic issues addressed in the book: cloning, faith versus reason, overcoming the past, and materialistic pride among some others. It is a book that causes one to think, and that is a strong quality in The Enclave. I felt there were some loose ends by the finale, that there was a little too much tackled to fully resolve, and I was a little disappointed on how some things got short-changed.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and enjoyed it a lot. It has a lot of strong points, but it had potential to be a very powerful book if all of the points could have been properly developed. (To be fair, there are enough issues in the book it would be a daunting task to nail them all) I am perhaps a little tainted because her fantasy series Legends of the Guardian King was so well done that my expectations may have been too high. Still, it is a well-written, smart and suspenseful techno-thriller that doesn't just entertain, but stimulate. I can recommend this book to any fan of suspense or sci-fi infused conspiracy.
I'll have further thoughts on one of the main issues from the book tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my interview with Karen Hancock from yesterday, and see a list of other tours for more opinions and features.


  1. I think so, too, Jason. (Rachel, it seems I'm always coming behind you in the comments, saying, I agree with Rachel LOL )