New York Times bestselling author Daniel Suarez delivers an exhilarating sci-fi thriller exploring a potential future where CRISPR genetic editing allows the human species to control evolution itself.
On a crowded train platform, Interpol agent Kenneth Durand feels the sting of a needle—and his transformation begins...
In 2045 Kenneth Durand leads Interpol’s most effective team against genetic crime, hunting down black market labs that perform "vanity edits" on human embryos for a price. These illegal procedures augment embryos in ways that are rapidly accelerating human evolution—preying on human-trafficking victims to experiment and advance their technology.
With the worlds of genetic crime and human trafficking converging, Durand and his fellow Interpol agents discover that one figure looms behind it all: Marcus Demang Wyckes, leader of a powerful and sophisticated cartel known as the Huli jing.
But the Huli jing have identified Durand, too. After being forcibly dosed with a radical new change agent, Durand wakes from a coma weeks later to find he’s been genetically transformed into someone else—his most wanted suspect: Wyckes.
Now a fugitive, pursued through the genetic underworld by his former colleagues and the police, Durand is determined to restore his original DNA by locating the source of the mysterious—and highly valuable—change agent. But Durand hasn’t anticipated just how difficult locating his enemy will be. With the technology to genetically edit the living, Wyckes and his Huli jing could be anyone and everyone—and they have plans to undermine identity itself.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Real life feels pretty terrifying these days. In this page-turning thriller, Daniel Suarez takes anxiety-inducing topics—genetic modification, identity theft, human trafficking—and cranks the scary up a few notches. In a world where “proprietary DNA theft, custom viruses, and baby labs were fast becoming the world’s most profitable criminal enterprises,” American investigator Ken Durand is working with Interpol to bring down the bad guys. Steeped in cutting-edge science, Change Agent pulsates with menace and glittering detail.
This outstanding speculative thriller from bestseller Suarez (Kill Decision) imagines a future of "living technology a fourth industrial revolution of synthetic biology and genetic editing," as the author puts it in an opening note to the reader. In 2045, Kenneth Durand mines data for Interpol's Singapore-based Genetic Crimes Division, using algorithms to locate labs that cater to parents-to-be seeking to give their progeny a better life via illegal genetic therapies. The targeted genetic edits were initially intended to eliminate birth defects, but their potential for improving mental and physical capacity attracts those looking to provide their children with as many advantages as they can afford. An even more frightening prospect is realized when Durand himself is injected with a change agent that edits enough of his cells to make him the image of the criminal mastermind he's been pursuing. His quest to get his life back integrates a classic Hitchcockian theme into a terrifying brave new world. The depth and sophistication of Suarez's dystopian world not to mention his facility at making complex science intelligible to the nonexpert rivals anything Michael Crichton ever did.
Being in the gene editing biz, I found the application of science related to that pretty fun, with a solid and correct underpinning of reality applied to a not all that unreasonable future. There are some inconsistencies with respect to how and what germ line traits are chosen to be edited, but I found myself more than ready to cut him some slack. As with most Suarez protagonists, our main good guy here is a bit wooden and one dimensional. The side kick for much of the book is a much more compelling character. The culmination of the conflict hinged on a pretty thin premise, but the resolution was still satisfying. I like his stuff, but read it more for the worlds he creates rather than the characters and their motivations.
Very interesting story and also unpredictable. Can’t wait to read his other work
Every bit as good as reported
A future that will shake your bones