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The Footprints of God    by Greg Iles order for
Footprints of God
by Greg Iles
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Project Trinity, top U.S. scientists are working to develop an AI supercomputer, to be loaded with neuromodels of individuals and so 'end death's dominion over humanity.' Dr. David Tennant, physician and ethicist, has been assigned to the project by the president, who was a friend of his brother. Due to concerns about the project by Tennant and another scientist (his close friend, Andrew Fielding), it has been temporarily suspended. Fielding called the attempt to build Trinity 'walking in the footprints of God.' Fielding dies mysteriously and Tennant feels threatened.

He should. We soon know that he's under continual close surveillance from project security headed by Geli Bauer, a 'terminator with tits' and brains, who wants very badly to terminate him. Tennant flees accompanied by psychiatrist Rachel Weiss, whom he had consulted about visions that seem to be a side effect of an experimental procedure, a 'Super-MRI' through which his neuromodel was captured for the project. In his visions, Tennant foresees certain events and also dreams of Jerusalem from the point of view of Jesus.

Technology invented by Fielding gets the pair through several narrow escapes as David and Rachel are pursued with all the resources of a Big Brother National Security Agency, that seems to be able to continually second guess Tennant. How are they doing so? He tries to communicate with the president, who is being fed a story of a scientist suffering from delusions, a deranged doctor turned dangerous. Gradually David feels the call to travel to Jerusalem. Rachel and the reader wonder why, since he is an atheist. However he talks of his father's conviction that 'Man is the universe becoming conscious of itself.' Is he on a mission from God or is he indeed delusional?

This novel is an unusual combination - an SF thriller that's heavy on philosophy, but with fast-moving, violent action, which culminates in an end-of-the-world scenario narrowly averted. And David and Rachel have the most surprising offspring.

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