‘You want to know who gave you your immortal soul? You want a personal relationship with God? Well, we’ve found God. We’ve got God’s private number. And so do you: imprinted a hundred trillion times – once in every living cell in your big dripping corpus.’
So says a woman with an axe pressed to her neck, and the solution to the entire mystery of human existence clutched between her palms. Two weeks earlier, Kate Quinlan was just your average British expat with a PhD, working in Silicon Valley as an artificial-intelligence designer for ultra-violent video games, spending the evenings hanging out with her pet chimp – and wondering how something as weird as human consciousness could have evolved through mere Darwinian selection. But when a disconcertingly attractive behavioural geneticist and a hotshot cryptologist stroll into her life, she begins looking for answers in the backwaters of the human genome – the 97% written off as ‘junk DNA’.
And when men in strange hats come looking for her hard drive, shooting first and never really asking any questions, she finds herself on the run – pursued by multiple squads of heavily-armed religious zealots, the Feds, and worse. All seek to obtain, or to suppress forever, the key to the revelatory stretch of DNA known as the Pandora Sequence. The outcome of their race to control this explosive secret will forever alter how humanity regards itself – that is, if anyone lives long enough to tell the tale.