Other science fiction stories have created scenarios where the Arctic or Antarctic ice holds buried extraterrestrial secrets and danger, but The Lucifer Spore takes a familiar scenario and carries it a step beyond reader expectations in outlining scientific team's discovery of alien capsules containing spores and what happens when a political struggle for control of the alien spores blends with a threat that could transform or eliminate humanity.
The adventure starts in one million BC, when a primitive, starving woman hunting for food in the forest stumbles upon a glowing, tree-like being. The descriptions are fabulous and paint exact, involving images of events as readers follow her encounter: "She could see tiny fires flashing under the god’s skin and hear its humming heart as its arms moved over the plot of fresh mushrooms poking from the earth like pale penises."
The next time jump lands readers in 1581 CE, when an imperious duke embarks on a vendetta to erase the pagan clans who worship in a cave with mysterious symbols etched into its walls.
Now fast forward to the modern Antarctic, where astrobiologist Ravi Lakshmi is tasked with locating and analyzing meteorite fragments to uncover evidence of extraterrestrial life. It's nearly time for him to return to his NASA laboratory when he stumbles upon the biggest find of his life and (for a self-taught street-smart urchin who has already changed his world through tenacity, talent and perseverance) what promises to be his biggest achievement.
Ravi has long been dedicated to locating alien life forms but now he's stumbled on its reality, and the meat of The Lucifer Spore lies not in this discovery, but in what happens next. Experiments and escape plans, a mushroom's impetus for change, and an epiphany that involves a femme extraordinare. A journey of sacrifice and pain leads readers on a path that incorporates more and more special interests and a deeper and deeper mystery as Ravi unravels the truths behind humanity's origins and purpose.
The Lucifer Spore is more than science fiction: it also laces its intrigue and mystery with more than a dose of spiritual reflection as it examines the reasons for humanity's leaps in progress and what these hold for the future. All this is wound into a plot with ever-expanding protagonists and special interests to create a satisfyingly complex read.
Science fiction and thriller readers alike will find The Lucifer Spore's descriptions solid, its actions logical and impeccably presented, and the final outcome intriguing and open-ended, holding out a possibility for more adventure.