Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Rhesus Factor by Sonny Whitelaw


In 2020, marine engineer Kristin Baker is trying to keep Asian fishing cartels from plundering the marine resources of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. But after meeting US Navy Commander Nicholas Page, Kristin discovers she is an unwitting pawn in the Exodus Project, a scheme devised by the Western world to protect its interests in the face of unstoppable climate change. But what neither knows is that a stealth virus has quietly become a global pandemic; one that health authorities cannot stop. For this virus hasn't emerged from an African jungle or a remote Chinese province, it's come from within our own DNA.


I avoid reading Stephen King, because horror stories give me nightmares. But I’m a sucker for men in Navy whites, so the innocuous cover of The Rhesus Factor sucked me in. Besides, I like a good thriller. However, as I read this book, I was all too aware of the plausibility of the future Ms. Whitelaw outlined—one my in which my grandchildren would be in their twenties and thirties, and my great-granddaughter would be starting high school.

As the book begins, Kristin Baker is on her way back to the island nation of Vanuatu from the United States with a sonar device that will help the tiny nation locate and identify trawlers from the Asian cartels fishing illegally in Vanuatu’s national waters, when her hotel is bombed by terrorists. She returns to the US to pick up another unit to replace the one destroyed in the bombing and meets US Navy Commander Nicholas Page, who informs her that he will accompany her back to Vanuatu not only to provide tech support, but security as well. As sparks fly between them, they dodge terrorist bombs, bullets, possible bio-warfare, and stuck zippers.

Meanwhile, we meet Nicholas’ childhood friends, the President, the Secretary of State and his wife, and the President’s Security Adviser. The sixth member of the childhood group was killed in a terrorist attack aimed at Nicholas, which he barely survived. We also meet the head of the Centers for Disease Control, and the Australian Prime Minister (with whom the President is good friends). And, for balance, we follow the life of a family in Maine to see how all of the elements in this book (global warming, antibiotic-resistant diseases, civil unrest, and of course, the Rhesus factor itself) are affecting average citizens.

The characters were engaging and the book kept me on the edge of my seat. I had difficulty putting it down—even to work, despite the fact it scared me half out of my wits, while making me glad I at least drive a Prius. Don’t get me wrong when you read the next paragraph—this is a highly entertaining book. But it is a cautionary tale, and many of the predictions in it are already happening.

I don’t just recommend The Rhesus Factor as a good read. It should be required reading in every school, for every politician, every businessman in a position to control industrial energy consumption, waste, or emissions, and every oil company employee. It should be a television movie shown on every channel at once. I don’t know how much of a chance we still have to save our planet, but we have to try. Because if we need to build another ark, you’d better believe there will be chaos and worse among those who are not chosen to enter.

Length:  372 Pages
Price:  $5.99

You’ll notice I always include the publisher’s buy link.  That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher.  Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%.  When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left.  So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40.  If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your Kindle is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive.  Plug the USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from your “Downloads” box to your Kindle/Documents/Books directory.  I actually download my books using “Save As” to a “Books” file I created on my computer that’s sorted by my publisher, friends, and books “to review,” and then transfer them to my Kindle from there.  That way, if there’s a glitch with my Kindle, the books are on my computer.  Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. RIW


  1. Along the lines of what should be required to be taught in school, I think all kids should have to watch the 4th Star Trek movie, the one about the future where we've hunted whales to extinction, but another far more advanced race is heading our way and trying to get an answer from the whales it chatted with centuries ago. If we can't get some whales for them to talk to, they'll disrupt every system along the way and destroy the earth's power grid. Makes you think about the repercussions of thoughtlessly annihilating a species.

    Also, Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake", along with the 3rd book, "Madd Addams", (I didn't like the 2nd in the series) deals with a future where genetically altered foods are taken to the extreme. Chickens are bred to have no legs and 4 breasts, and high level geneticists decide the human race could use a bit of tinkering also...secretly-done, of course. These days European countries won't buy our seeds or foods, calling what we eat "Frankenfoods"-- there might be something wrong with what we are expected to consume, to create bigger profits for the multi-national companies who control our food chain.

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