“Humans are no longer one species,” Ryl continued, idly rolling the wine in her glass. “Some of us regressed a million years and leaped into a future that might have been, becoming Metas. On Earth, the Rhesus plague deleted a huge chunk of genetic diversity in mankind, taking with it a very special gene. As you reach out to the stars, to explore new worlds, to seek the sanctuary planet, Gaia, you will meet other species and situations that telepaths cannot deal with. A dangerous toy, Dim5 travel, for it opens you to predation. As a small gift to help you on your journey, to warn you when the path to be trodden is perhaps not the safest one, twenty-five men and women from the twentieth century were taken, adjusted slightly and delivered to you. These are the C20s.”
“Alright, Meta, you called them gifts. Why gift them to us?” Captain Jassom asked.
“They’re early warning devices.” The Meta downed the last of her wine, and meeting his eyes, added grimly, “Believe me, you’re going to need them.”
Welcome to a world where humanity’s deadliest enemy is not a plague or warmongering alien species, but an insidious adversary that attacks from within.
Welcome to the Ark Ship.
Avalon Davo is a C20 – one of an elite group of humans brought forward in time from 1999 to 2199 by metaphysical aliens. Through prescience and a unique bonding to a succession of spaceships, C20s have served mankind as early warning devices for three hundred years.
In 2499, Davo is bonded to the Ark ship Eagle, built to store and decontaminate large sections of Earth’s biomatter while the planet is systematically cleaned. After ten years of construction, two weeks before its maiden voyage, Eagle’s captain is killed. Departure cannot be delayed because the ark ship’s presence in the Katyl system is necessary to ratify a peace treaty. But the appointment of Chris Falcon as the new captain is highly controversial – especially in light of his role in the Katyl War.
Eagle’s departure triggers a nanite virus on Earth and Spacedock, where additional Ark ships are under construction. As high-ranking members of the Ark Ship project succumb to the virus, a staggering conspiracy is revealed. But the head of the senatorial investigation into the conspiracy has a personal hatred of Falcon and a deep prejudice against C20s and aliens. As Eagle’s inhabitants meet their erstwhile enemies and learn the true nature of the Katyl…
The Ark Ship is a murder mystery on a vast scale; a political intrigue set against the backdrop of space. It is not so much about space exploration, C20s or aliens, although their history unfolds during the story, but about events that occurred because even after five hundred years, humans are still seduced by power and greed, driven by ambition, suffer prejudice and demand vengeance at any price. It’s also a love story between two people who can never consummate their love – on pain of death.
The story picks up where The Rhesus Factor left off—in a manner of speaking. It also takes the leap from science ‘faction’ into science fiction, five hundred years into the future and a humanity that has been lucky enough to have received a helping—alien—hand after the environmental mess we made of Earth. However, while attitudes and awareness of responsibility towards planet and Life Force have changed dramatically, other things—including political skulduggery—have remained the same. In other words, the stage is set for a power play of staggering proportions that could well alter the fate of the universe. And the stakes get higher yet when it turns out that the major players themselves are mere puppets: this time the battle is for mankind’s very soul.
Sonny Whitelaw’s new novel, Ark Ship, is an amazing journey into mankind’s future. However, while populating the galaxy with quirky aliens and mysterious human mutations, Whitelaw resists the temptation of turning this into a flight of fancy, and therein lies the true strength of the novel. Plus ce que change, plus ce que reste la même chose—the fundamental familiarity of heroes and villains, hopes and desires, joys and grievances is what allows this white-knuckle ride to crawl under your skin. Feisty heroine Avalon Davo firmly anchors the story in our time; more than that, she bridges a five hundred year gap so convincingly that you will come away from this book believing that ark ships, Metas, Masters, and Others not only could be but will be the future.
—Dr. Sabine C Bauer, author of Stargate SG-1: Trial by Fire