This second "genetic thriller" will be released in July of 2002 by Warner Books.
Beginning with the cloning of Dolly, the Scottish sheep, the world was forever changed. Contrary to popular understanding, Dolly wasn't important because she was a duplicate of her mother; her importance comes from the cell she was cloned from. The genetic material that created Dolly came from a fully differentiated mammary cell. In other words, not a sex cell from an ovary.
Until Dolly, organisms couldn't be cloned from adult body, or somatic cells. What the Scottish team did was to create a new organism from just such a cell. The implications are profound: We can recreate extinct species such as mammoths, passenger pigeons, gaurs, dodos, and perpetuate threatened species like condors, tigers, snail darters, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and spotted owls.
The premise for RAISING ABEL couldn't be ignored. What if a group of paleoanthropologists found a source of prehistoric human tissue? The circumstances would have to be right for the preservation of the nuclear DNA, but what happens when someone brings back not just a extinct animal, but an extinct human?
The hottest topic in modern paleoanthropology is the Neanderthal question. Were Neanderthals a separate species who were replaced by modern humans, or were they a related population who were finally absorbed into the overall human gene pool? We tackle that problem head on using the latest research on Neanderthal DNA from around the world.
When Scott Ferris and his research team recreate a young Neanderthal boy, they know it will be the ultimate challenge to religious fundamentalism. What they don't realize is how seriously some people will take them. One by one, Scott and his team are being murdered. The nature of the crimes, and a tip from a soon to be murdered woman, attracts the interest of the FBI "Domestic Terrorism" squad. But, as FBI Agent Joe Hanson discovers, no one, not even the FBI, is safe from the killers.
For Bryce Johnson, a member of Scott's team, and Dr. Veronica Tremain, Scott Ferris' sister, the truth comes clear. When fate places the little four-year-old Abel in their care, he is an enigma. Something about the pale blond, blue-eyed boy isn't right. He has problems with speech, and, while he isn't dumb, he thinks differently than the average four-year-old should. Veronica, an anthropologist herself, can't help but notice something familiar about Abel, but for the life of her, she can't solve the riddle of little Abel. Hunted across the western United States, all they have to do is stay alive and keep a step ahead of "Leopard" Paxton and the possessed Ron Elias.