19 March 2009

The Gene Thieves

by Maria Quinn

Harper Collins. Australian, Science Fiction, Crime, Mystery. Paperback rrp $24.99

On the back cover of the The Gene Thieves it says science fiction. But don’t let that discourage you if you don’t like the genre. Here is a story that is set in Sydney sometime in the future – but it could just as likely be tomorrow. Hybrid cars, tall buildings powered by hydrogen converted from sky-farm and conjugal contracts, not marriages are all futuristic but don’t sound too far removed from today.

Peter Tebrett, Dancer to his friends, is a lawyer who is approached by brilliant scientist, Piggy Brown, to help him with the contracts to allow him to have a child using embryos and sperm of his choosing. When he was a young boy, Piggy Brown was given his name by local bullies, because of his pale skin, thick white-blonde lashes and short nose with wide nostrils.

One of the bullies was Dancer. But Piggy doesn’t remember this, or if he does, he has chosen to ignore it.

Dancer feels obligated to help. Piggy, thanks to his discovery of the blue-eyed gene, is very rich. Rich to the point where he will never need to look at the price of anything again. But what he truly wants is to have the child he feels he should have been. A normal child with no defects – perfect.

The Nest is the official centre for surrogates and was created by Dancer’s recently deceased mother. Her business partner is now ready to retire but before she does she recommends to Dancer and Piggy a surrogate who will carry Piggy’s child without asking too many questions. Angela, the surrogate, is artificially impregnated and with her existing child Molly, moves into Piggy’s large home and his life.

For the first time, Piggy experiences the bond of love and trust through Angela’s young daughter. As a child, Molly only sees Piggy for the gentle and loving man that he is. She is not bothered by his physical deformities. When Dancer withholds new information about Angela, he hopes to protect Piggy but for the consequences could place Piggy’s unborn child in grave danger.

When the scientific community learns that Piggy is close to finishing his latest discovery, there is even more at stake. What has Piggy discovered that people will kill for? Will Angela, the unborn child and Molly be safe?

Genetics, science and love are major elements in the drama and mystery of The Gene Thieves. The future is out there and, after reading this book, I believe scientists have a lot to answer for. The ramifications of current trends in scientific research are examined and held to account in this book. It is a great story too.


  1. What a terrific site!I discovered you while trolling through google,searching out comments on my own novel The Gene Thieves. I was thrilled to see your excellent review and delighted to come across such a group of book lovers. I'm now working my way through past reviews, adding to my own reading list. Love the site name too. I'll be a regular visitor.
    Maria Quinn

  2. Thanks Maria.
    I am only just starting to "work" the site. I love letting people know about great books out there. And there are many - and yours is one of my favourites! Thank YOU!
    Barbara Brown
    Senior Editor