This is a near-future evolutionary thriller, in which ancient viruses activated a decade past have produced a generation of Virus Children worldwide. The maturing of the adolescent SHEVA children is terrifying, exciting, and I was immediately hooked, and followed the five main characters along their trails of fear, worry, deadends and discovery with dreadful anticipation. This will probably rate as one of my books of the year, not only for the tense enjoyment, but also for changing my perception of genetics.
I hadn't read the prequel, Darwin's Radio, and didn't need to, but I borrowed it immediately so I could see how the story had unfolded.
In the beginning, the protestors had nearly all been parents, arriving at the schools by the thousands, some hangdog and guilty, some grim and defiant, all pleading that their children be allowed to go home. Back then, the nursery buildings had been filled and the dorms under construction or empty. The parents had mounted their vigils year-round, even in the dead of winter, for more than five years. They had been the best of citizens. They had surrendered their children willingly, trusing government promises that they would eventually be returned.
Mark Augustine had been unable to fulfill that promise, at first because of what he thought he knew, but in later years becaue of grim political reality.