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The Seventh Sun    by Kent Lester order for
Seventh Sun
by Kent Lester
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kent Lester's The Seventh Sun is a fast-paced near future thriller, centered on a global conspiracy engineered by a greedy, malign multinational. It also features a budding romance between prediction scientist Dan Clifford and fearless marine biologist Rachel Sullivan.

But first things first. The story begins with geologist Carl Jameson, completing research on his doctoral thesis (on mass extinction events) in Honduras. Working at the Central American Core Repository ('an archive of geological history'), studying ocean sediments, he's made an implausible Nobel-worthy discovery, that he plans to share with Rachel when they meet in a few days. But, curious about frenzied activity in a secure area, he slips inside - and sees something he shouldn't.

Dan Clifford developed the Global Assimilation and Prediction System (GAPS) which finds 'patterns in huge data sets' and identifies 'black swan events', unexpected disasters which humans don't see coming. The company has just won a key government contract and is about to go public. Taking a vacation, Dan drops unannounced into the company's assembly plant in Honduras - he's sure that something fishy is going on, and his visit confirms it. He's fired soon afterwards.

On vacation on the island of Guanaja, he learns of locals' concern about severe marine pollution caused by the plant. Then Carl's body is found and identified, which soon brings Rachel to the area. She and Dan team up to investigate - and Carl had managed to leave them a clue. They begin a rogue operation using the latest oceanographic research equipment, survive too many close calls, and make their discoveries public. Locals die in droves, and the CDC is called in.

Seems that a deep sea corporate mining operation in hydrothermal vents might trigger global pandemics, a worldwide extinction event (the Seventh Sun to Hondurans). Can Dan and Rachel prevent it? You'll have to read the novel to find out. And don't miss the author's fascinating Afterword.

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