The ®Evolution books are set in a London of the near future, about a century after a neurological pandemic known as the Syndrome swept the globe. The entire species might have been wiped out, had not genetic engineers been able to build resistance into human embryos. But with some babies the modification was taken further: a sub-class of radically altered and highly specialised people, known as gems, was created and kept in indentured servitude to the norm majority. The three novels use the lens of an altered humanity to take a new look at the old issues of race, class, religious dogma and social conflict.
GEMSIGNS: The 1st Book of the ®Evolution
The bulk of the action in Gemsigns occurs a year after the abolition of the indenture system. The gems’ position is still extremely tenuous. Many norms don’t consider gems to be truly human; the gemtechs that created and owned them want them back under their control; and the extremist godgangs see them only as abominations to be destroyed.
Eli Walker is the scientist tasked with determining whether gems can or should be part of wider society. He is torn between the machinations of devious gemtech fixer Zavcka Klist, charismatic gem leader Aryel Morningstar, and the mystery of the abandoned child Gabriel and his gem foster parents, Gaela and Bal. The story takes place against a backdrop of fear, suspicion, intolerance and, increasingly, extreme violence.
Humanity stands on the brink. Again.
Surviving the Syndrome meant genetically modifying almost every person on the planet. But norms and gems are different. Gems may have the superpowers that once made them valuable commodities, but they also have more than their share of the disabled, the violent and the psychotic.
After a century of servitude, freedom has come at last for the gems, and not everyone’s happy about it. The gemtechs want to turn them back into property. The godgangs want them dead. The norm majority is scared and suspicious, and doesn’t know what it wants.
Eli Walker is the scientist charged with deciding whether gems are truly human, and as extremists on both sides raise the stakes, the conflict descends into violence. He’s running out of time, and with advanced prototypes on the loose, not everyone is who or what they seem. Torn between the intrigues of ruthless executive Zavcka Klist and brilliant, badly deformed gem leader Aryel Morningstar, Eli finds himself searching for a truth that might stop a war.
BINARY: The 2nd Book of the ®Evolution
Three and a half years have passed since the events chronicled in Gemsigns. A new equilibrium – personal and political – has developed between gems and norms, but there is still a lot of unease and distrust, especially around mixed relationships, and what that legacy will mean for the next generation. The theft of quarantined genestock raises fears of black market gemtech; the technology that caused the Syndrome is on the rise again; and the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s past could affect the present and future of every gem. Once again Binary is a thriller with deeper themes of race, belief, acceptance, belonging, the lengths that humans will go to, and what it means to be human.
When confiscated genestock is stolen out of secure government quarantine, DI Sharon Varsi finds herself on the biggest case of her career … chasing down a clever thief, a mysterious hacker, and the threat of new, black market gemtech.
Zavcka Klist, ruthless industrial enforcer, has reinvented herself. Now the head of Bel’Natur, she wants gem celebrity Aryel Morningstar’s blessing for the company’s revival of infotech – the science that spawned the Syndrome, nearly destroyed mankind, and led to the creation of the gems. With illness in her own family that only a gemtech can cure, Aryel’s in no position to refuse.
As the infotech programme inches towards a breakthrough, Sharon’s investigations lead ever closer to the dark heart of Bel’Natur, the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s past … and what Zavcka Klist is really after.
REGENERATION: The 3rd Book of the ®Evolution
It’s been eight years since the revelations of Binary, and on the surface things are looking good for gems – but the political undercurrents are telling a different story, as the gillungs’ revolutionary energy technology looks set to disrupt big business and undermine the existing economic base on which many norms depend. Mikal Varsi, now a veteran of London’s City Council, is being wooed from all sides as competing interests scramble to reposition themselves. The reality is sinking in that gems are not simply going to be subsumed within traditional hierarchies; their existence represents a fundamental alteration of the human condition. As Callan remarks, ‘It was hard enough for norms to accept us into society; they didn’t bank on us changing it.’ How that change is responded to – personally and politically, in the court of public opinion and the private bonds of friendship and family – will chart the course for the next generations of humanity.
The gillungs – genetically modified, waterbreathing humans – are thriving. They’ve pioneered new aquatic industries, and their high-efficiency quantum battery technology coupled to tidal turbines in the Thames estuary looks set to revolutionise the energy industry. But as demand grows, so does fear of what their newfound power might mean.
Then a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their London headquarters, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. Was it an accident born of overconfidence, or was it sabotage?
DS Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s trying to manage: politicians and big business have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is out of prison. With powerful new followers and nothing to lose, she’s out to reclaim everything they took from her.