The Variant Conspiracy
by Christine Hart
GENRE: Sci Fi Romance
Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery.
Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other 'variants' brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer's grip. Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
In Irina’s cards is one of those books that when you start it you want nothing more then to just keep going without regard to anything in the real world; it is a true escape into a world not our own. The story starts off with a mystery and then you keep getting little pieces here and there and just when you think you have the story figured out a surprise hits you that tosses the idea out of the window. The characters are deep and intricate and well developed. You truly care about every one of them and hope for the best. I love the fact that the variations that the variants each has is so wide and varied some can be in public while others have to hide. For a first book in a series it does not disappoint.
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.
Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.
The Compendium starts back up right where the previous story ended. There was no weird segue into where are we what is going on now. It is a heart pounding race against the total destruction of San Francisco with twists and turns and oh no moments that you hope none of the main characters to the story fall to harm. Each scene is detailed and important to the story. As with the first novel you get sucked in straight away and it is a fast paced ride from start to finish. I can not wait for the conclusion to this story.
Excerpt from The Compendium:
I awoke standing on an orange cliff under a purple sky. An unfamiliar canyon wound under the horizon on either side. I looked down to see a river of metallic sludge oozing along the canyon floor. Chunks of debris floated in the sludge. Steam intermittently bubbled here and there. The sky darkened as I watched the river. Lights streaked across the sky, red and white, blinking. Black pellets fell from the lights, exploding in the distance as they hit the ground.
A figure walked through the smoke left by an explosion on the cliff directly opposite from me. While the smoke cleared, Ivan reached the edge of the cliff. His face distorted with a ripple. He reached up with both arms, burying his hands in his hair. His fingertips pulled on his scalp. Ivan’s expression melted. He peeled off his face in a downward motion taking the rest of his body with it. In Ivan’s place stood a red-eyed humanoid reptile with giant curling horns, identical to what I’d seen reflected in the window of Ivan’s apartment.
The horned figure let out a ferocious roar. The ground shook. The landscape shivered until the canyon transformed into a green valley below dry sage-covered hills. Ivan seemed himself again, smiling and tapping his wristwatch, strolling toward me. I shuddered, shaking my head. The green grass floor trembled and a crack opened horizontally between us. Trembling turned to shaking. The crack ripped into the ground in both directions until a canyon separated us.
The end of the humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I make my home at the intersection of a lush rainforest and an urban underbelly. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller (https://www.etsy.com/shop/sleeplessstoryteller). I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband and two children.
Portfolio and author profile at www.christine-hart.ca.
Work experience and professional background at ca.linkedin.com.