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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Guilfoile, Kevin: Cast of Shadows

  Amazon  

5 stars

Kevin Guilfoile's superb novel Cast of Shadows explores the consequences of a vicious crime, the rape and murder of seventeen-year-old Anna Kat. The police are unable to solve the case, and AK's father, renowned fertility doctor and cloning expert Dr. Davis Moore, devotes himself to finding the killer himself--poring over the text of police interviews when the information is finally released to him, tracking down potential suspects. Eventually Moore takes an extreme step that, should it ever be discovered, could destroy his career and what's left of his family.

That's the backbone of the book, but wrapped around it are numerous related strands of the story, told from multiple perspectives: the investigations conducted by private eyes hired by several parties for reasons tangentially related to the murder; the explosive popularity of an online gaming site in which participants can act out realistic second lives; the violent opposition to reproductive cloning which once nearly cost Dr. Moore his life; a string of murders in the Chicago area believed to be the work of a single serial killer; the childhood and adolescence of one particularly precocious boy created by cloning at Dr. Moore's clinic. The book is also a meditation on identity and the morality of human cloning--which in Guilfoile's world is increasingly routine but controversial. I particularly liked this passage early in the book in which one of the characters muses about the differences between cloned and "normal" children:

"Reproduction the historical way, the God-conceived and Darwin-endorsed way that begins with prodigious or precisely timed coupling, results in children of a certain kind. Before birth you didn't know anything about them, of course, except maybe the gender, but the things you learned as they grew up were not so much surprises as they were the winnowing of potentialities. He thought of the Sunday after he and Martha returned from their honeymoon. They had opened their wedding presents in front of a small gathering of family. Each wrapped parcel was a mystery of sorts, but contained a gift checked off from their registry. Unwrapped, the appliances and silver and china were pleasing and familiar. Your own child must be a little like that. A gift to you from yourself."

The many threads of Guilfoile's novel--some of them with a snatched-from-the-headlines timeliness--do all tie up together neatly, but keeping them straight in one's head takes a bit of effort on the reader's part. Guilfoile's plot, too, flirts with credibility problems in the last quarter of the book, when the online game becomes important to his story, but I think the author manages to make the unusual goings on in that section believable enough so he doesn't lose us. The complex of stories in Guilfoile's novel adds up to a suspenseful, tightly-plotted book. Highly recommended.

Comments

1.

CAST OF SHADOWS was published also as WICKER. I found the virtual world aspects interesting too. I have linked to my review of the book. Like you I rated it highly.

2.

Thanks for the links, Kerrie. It was indeed a very interesting book, unusually complex, and it raised a lot of issues--as you note particularly in that second post.

I agree that "Cast of Shadows" is a better title. But I really love the cover of the book as it appears on your post. That would definitely attract me in a store.

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