From the moment Homo Sapiens descended from the trees, possibly onto their heads, humanity has striven towards civilization. Fire. The Wheel. Running Away from furry things with more teeth than one might reasonably expect-all are testament to man's ultimate supremacy. It is a noble story and so, of course, complete and utter fiction. For one man has discovered the hideous truth: that humanity's ascent to civilization has been ruthlessly guided by a small gang of devious frogs. The man's name is David Perkins, and his theory is not, on the whole, widely admired, particularly not by the frogs themselves, who had invested a great deal of time and effort in keeping the whole thing quiet.
Lonely computer programmer David Perkins has spent his life obsessed with Philippa Levens, a witch who was burned for heresy hundreds of years ago and immortalized in a painting. When he impulsively purchases a lock of her hair at an auction then, coincidentally, finds himself near Honest John's House of Clones, whose proprietor agrees to bring her back to life he triggers a chain of events that reveals mankind's puppeteers to be a meddling race of highly evolved, immortal frogs. It turns out that David's life, and the lives of those around him, have been meticulously planned over the centuries to bring about the rebirth of Philippa and her long-lost love; she and her immortal father spend most of the book tossing off hip cultural references and Microsoft put-downs, all the while leading David through an increasingly byzantine plot. Holt (Nothing but Blue Skies, etc.) has a touch that is equally breezy and serious: the story's twists and revelations feel like Douglas Adams emulating David Mamet. Although the prose is wordy at times and the story is 100 pages longer than it needs to be, Hitchhiker's Guideaficionados will relish every line.