They dropped a ladder through the hole to the ground about three meters below and descended. Sarah and Sam climbed in and Michael lowered packs of supplies and sample containers before following them in. They pulled the ladder down the hole behind them. Sarah and Michael attached reels of heavy nylon fishing line to the backs of their waists like the mythical Theseus who used Ariadne’s ball of thread as a crude GPS to find his way out of the maze after he had slain the Minotaur. The line was tethered to the ladder.
As they moved into the tunnel ahead, their flashlight beams bounced off the fog and sprayed light everywhere but on the bogged ground below. They were eyeless fish, advancing into the net of an unknown and possibly invisible life form. They held onto each other and the walls to keep from losing their footing until they left the cloaking steam of the geothermal mist seeping from the ground. The path turned icy and slippery, and their pace slowed to a shuffle.
As the temperature started to rise, the air cleared and they loosened their parkas. The floor thawed again, providing surer footing. Their flashlights now illuminated smooth nondescript walls and ragged ceilings dripping with stalactites poked through billowy clouds in the ceiling. The cave widened into a large amphitheater just as the ceiling went below the levels of permafrost and they redirected their light to a barrel-shaped cloudless vault some fifteen or more meters above. The room was nearly a hundred meters long and almost as wide. Crystals encrusting the ceiling refracted reds, greens, and indigos around the room like a discotheque ball.
Sam spoke softly and an echo reverberated throughout the rotunda. “They spoke of this in the legends. The cave of a thousand voices.”
In the 1980s, the catastrophic agricultural planning of the former Soviet Union destroyed the Aral Sea, creating environmental after-shocks rivaling the Chernobyl nuclear incident. For environmental scientist Sarah Baskin and her cousin Michael Seagal, a trip to Uzbekistan to investigate the disaster leads them to the mysterious discovery of a gruesome animal massacre—and communications with a telepathic consciousness. M’low Cloom, or MC for short, directs them on a worldwide odyssey that reveals startling truths about the earth’s history, humankind’s evolution, and the fate of our species—with each stop holding clues to its own self-serving motives. When Sarah and reluctantly, Michael, finally embark on their journey, each has an entirely different agenda.
Sarah believes that MC’s quest will provide the scientific proof she needs that humankind is destroying both itself and the planet and Michael selfishly hopes that it will resurrect his faltering career as a serious scientific journalist. Michael’s far more dangerous goal is to uncover the true identity of MC. As they travel from Antarctica to Canada, back to Uzbekistan and to war-torn Sudan, then finally to the sulfur springs of Portugal, they come to realize that MC’s motives make it both mentor and mortal enemy. When they confront MC, they learn the truth, but at the expense of a horrible fate. Following a last desperate hunch to a medieval Catholic graveyard in Bragancas, Portugal finally explains Sarah and Michael’s stunning telepathic relationship with M’low Cloom.
Marrying hard science biotechnology with a full-throttle action thriller to extraordinary effect, Schooler creates the first in a series of a four novels that shine, illuminating the past while foreshadowing the future. A stark portrayal of the consequences of humanity’s hubris, The Prophesy Gene is a thought provoking nail-biter of epic proportions and a globetrotting thriller that will take you to the evolutionary edge and change the way you view the world—and the very future we create for ourselves.