About the Book
Book: The Gene
Author: Timothy Browne
Genre: Medical Thriller
Release Date: July 12, 2020
We are the dwelling place of God—it is woven into our very DNA. Do we change the core of who we are by manipulating our genes? Is gene-therapy a miraculous cure or a slippery slope into eugenics?
Following their marriage, Dr. Nicklaus Hart and Maggie Russell enjoy the splendor and passion of a honeymoon in Hawaii. They learn that their union has brought new life, but the overflowing joy of Maggie’s pregnancy and their romantic getaway is interrupted by the shocking news of a genetic disorder discovered in Maggie’s family lineage. The devastating possibility that both Maggie and the baby carry the mutated gene for the horrific Huntington’s disease, shakes their faith.
Faced with this dreadful diagnosis, Nick and Maggie seek peace as they wrestle with the heartbreaking discovery of a genetic disease versus the knowledge that God is good—He has made their baby in His image and knit him together in Maggie’s womb. Like the millions of people around the world affected with genetic disorders, Nick and Maggie look for answers. With the belief that people are the dwelling place of God, and He is woven into the DNA, what should they do when that DNA has been corrupted?
Nick and Maggie travel to Poland, where the top geneticist, Emmanuelle Christianson, has founded and operates BioGenics whose mission statement is: Advancing the Human Genome. They understand that medical advances always cost something, but they face impossible decisions. They are unaware that the sinister side of genetic research has slithered in from the horrors of Nazi death camps into this modern-day technology. Their journey reveals more than the fight for knowledge, it uncovers a simmering evil left over from World War II. One that puts their lives in danger.
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About the Author
Timothy Browne, MD draws from life and work experience when writing. For many years, he has worked as an orthopaedic surgeon and medical missionary for Operation Blessing, Mercy Ships, and Hope Force International. His work has taken him to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil, Ukraine, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, North Korea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Sierra Leone. He now resides in Western Montana with his wife, Julie, who along with their three sons, served with him.
More from Timothy
Christian Fiction that will get your heart pounding!
After finishing, The Gene, the fourth book in the Dr. Nicklaus Hart Series, I have been able to look back at this body of work. The heart of my prose remains the same: to entertain and educate—fueled with imagination, inspired by history, and grounded in truth. I explored the mystery of North Korea and the threat of bioterrorism in Maya Hope, the complexities of the middle East and the history of Mesopotamia in The Tree of Life, the controversies of Big Pharma and our health in The Rusted Scalpel, and now examine the history of eugenics and the pitfalls of gene-therapy in The Gene.
Writing The Gene has taken significant research: exploration of Poland, investigation of the Nazi doctors and their horrendous medical experiments, the history of eugenics around the world, and of course, the science of genetics. The work has been satisfying, edifying, and many times, heartbreaking.
Absorbing, tragic, terrifying, and prescient, Timothy Browne’s The Gene may appear intimidating in size and depth, but once embarked upon, this journey moves at lightning speed. It is book 4 in the author’s Dr. Nicklaus Hart series, but I read it as a standalone and did not have any trouble following along; there is enough backstory provided to understand who the characters are. The opening chapters switch between the two main storylines, which converge as the plot progresses, and the prologue hints at what is to come with a disturbing scene from Auschwitz near the end of WWII.
Readers first meet Dr. Emmanuelle Christianson, CEO of the Poland BioGenics facility that researches cutting-edge genetic techniques and trials. A staunch atheist, Emmanuelle has been personally impacted by genetic mutations, and her work is directed, at least in part, by the institution’s wealthy benefactor. In America, Dr. Nicklaus Hart and his wife, Maggie, return early from their honeymoon after the devastating news that Maggie’s mother and brother have a fatal genetic disorder—and so does she. As they seek to trust God, they go to the only place in the world that might be able to provide medical intervention: BioGenics. However, their faith is tested as they learn more about the origin of the research being done and face unbearable decisions. How far is too far?
The Gene exposes so many medical and moral issues that we are currently facing and which will, I suspect, only increase with time. With the completion of the Human Genome Project in the last decade and the major advancements in both testing and treatments that continue to emerge, morality often becomes a gray area. Having studied the Holocaust fairly extensively during college, I am familiar with the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele and the medical atrocities he committed in the name of research. Whether medical knowledge gleaned from the Nazis’ efforts should be used is a major question and source of controversy. There is also a very fine line between eugenics, manipulating the human genome, and overstepping into God’s territory. Is it biblically ok to cut out defective genes? Where do we draw the line? As someone with multiple chronic health conditions, I can empathize with wanting everything to be cured and corrected, but if we manipulate our DNA, we are not relying on our Creator to care for us, nor are we becoming the men and women He created us to be.
In addition to being a thought-provoking thriller, this novel is unique in its execution. The fact that the author is himself a surgeon and can write medical thrillers that are mostly easy to read is a rare find in and of itself. Someone with little or no medical knowledge may feel a bit overwhelmed with the terminology, but it is clearly a medical thriller, after all, and the author takes time to explain within the text by disguising the information as dialogue. I enjoyed the chapter titles, which is something I almost never see any more in adult fiction. However, there are a couple of issues that I have. I was dismayed to find cursing in the narrative; granted, it is attributable to the secular characters, but in my opinion there are other ways to convey this without having to put down actual profanities. Likewise, the scenes of intimacy bothered me; I purposely choose Christian literature to avoid those kinds of things. I would add a trigger warning for content about rape, abortion, infidelity, euthanasia, and manipulating DNA. These do play crucial roles in the plot and are hot-button issues, so I understand why they have been included.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥
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To celebrate his tour, Timothy is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
It’s great hearing about new books when you have a family who loves to read. Thanks so much for sharing your book.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Sounds like a great book.
It’s quite riveting! Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Wonderful review! Sounds like a page-turner. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks! It’s a fast read, for sure! I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving!
This book sounds very intriguing.
It definitely makes you think!
This sounds like a fascinating book, but your warnings make me pause. Thank you for mentioning that!
I truly think that the author brings up some great questions regarding the ethics of genetic therapy and where genetic research is going. It’s going to be controversial, and it’s stuff we need to consider. There’s just some subject matter that I think was unnecessary.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and the book and author details, this sounds like an excellent read.
My pleasure; it’s quite fascinating, albeit also horrifying when it comes to the eugenics connection.
I love reading books centered around medicine!
I do, too. There are important questions raised in this book about cutting-edge medical science, and it really makes you think!
Thanks for sharing about this book and author. It sounds like an interesting story.
It is interesting! So incredible how God designed our bodies down to the genetic level, but so awful that our sin has led us to try to change His design.