The Eden Paradox by Barry Kirwan ** Blog Tour Review & Extract**

I'm happy to be part of the celebrations for Barry Kirwan's novel, The Eden Paradox and to have an extract for you to read today. There is also the chance to win a £20 or $25 Amazon Giftcard. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

A murder... a new planet mankind desperately needs... a thousand-year old conspiracy... What really awaits us on Eden? In a world beset by political turmoil, environmental collapse, and a predatory new religion, a recently discovered planet, Eden, is our last hope. But two missions have failed to return. Blake Alexander and his crew lead the final attempt to bring back good news. Meanwhile back on Earth, Micah Sanderson evades assassins, and tries to work out who he can trust as he struggles in a race against time to unravel the Eden Paradox.

 Tempted? Now try this extract...

 Chapter 1

People rarely search for bodies in ceilings, Gabriel O’Donnell reminded himself. He should have a couple of hours before anyone discovered his latest victim. Slipping unseen from the side door, he dissolved into the amoebic mass of dignitaries arriving for the fund-raiser at Eden Mission Control. He itched to shed his tuxedo and starched shirt, but he needed the camouflage – along with the stolen emotion-ID that had required a messy killing – to secure entry. He blended in with the wealthy entourage decked in stark designer suits and power dresses. He didn’t speak to anyone, didn’t sip from the champagne glass he occasionally raised to his lips. He let his eyes glaze over as if he, too, were rich enough to forget what was outside, an Earth maimed by War and near collapse from heat exhaustion. 

Somewhere here was his target, but as yet he didn’t know who. He slowed his breathing and sharpened his senses, filtering out the bass hum of the aircon and the drone of conversation. He suppressed the cocktail of cologne and perfume the crowd wore to mask residual traces of sweat from their journey through the early evening LA heat-haze. He glanced at his wristcom, switched to privacy mode so only he could read it – no message yet confirming his mark’s identity. The display did tell him it was a cool nineteen degrees Celsius, compared to forty-five out in the open, and way below the 2061 climate control mandate for public buildings. Nothing new, he thought: the rich make laws for others to follow.

The idea flickered across his mind that if he dispatched ten or twenty of the moguls here tonight, instead of just one, a lot more mouths would find food. But only for a while. The latest vidcast from his mentor had confirmed what he’d already suspected – the holocaust was mere days away. When he found the right target, maybe he could delay its onset, and save millions. Maybe. A fanfare of horns sliced through the banter, announcing the holorium was open: the Eden show awaited them. He swept forward with the elite mob, a spider hiding amongst flies.

    As the alcohol-rouged gathering rounded a corner, he glimpsed the twin Stentons bordering the corridor: floor-to-ceiling carbon-black monoliths. State-of-the-art security gear. He focused his mind, careful not to tense his body. A few surreptitious glances verified what the memorised floor plans had told him – this was the only access point. Six heavily-armed security guards manned the station, eyeing people as they passed through. The two in the front used an age-old technique called the fence, an unblinking stare-down subduing those passing through, ruffling a few of the male celebrities in the process. The middle two checked people and bags, but this was more for show – the Stentons did the real work. The final two guards scanned the assembly using peripheral vision – letting their right brains detect any unusual behaviour patterns of the swarm. Not bad, he thought. He knew he could take down all six if necessary, but then his mission would fail. 

He had to get past them. 

The Stentons were top of their class – a biometric system based on psychological finger-printing, using subliminal stimuli to trigger minute fear responses. The monoliths were especially good at picking out kamikaze terrorists, whose fear response had a singular signature, and experienced assassins like Gabriel, who had none. Earlier, he’d had to instil panic into the day’s first victim before terminating him, while downloading the visceral feedback. Gabriel now had those terror responses primed in the neural net embedded in his scalp – they would match the dead man’s E-ID card Gabriel held in his left palm. He’d actually apologised to the corpse afterward, taking rather more care than usual with the body. He was a Sentinel assassin, not a psychopath.

Slowing to an amble, he let one or two suits rub past him as he weighed his options. He laughed at a nearby joke as if he were part of that particular gang. But his insides felt hollow: too much was riding on tonight’s mission. Watching the shuffling pack tighten toward the checkpoint scanners, he decided he needed an extra edge. Distraction was also an assassin’s tool. 

As they herded like cloned beef toward the final security check, he surveyed the audience and picked out a busty woman in her thirties, sporting an emerald halter neck dress of gossamer-thin silk. Most of the middle-aged men pretended a little too hard not to notice her. As he mingled behind the woman and her escort in the funnelling queue, he casually reached into his pocket. He extracted the sliver of acid-coated razor-wire from its sheath. He coughed as he approached the twin security columns. His right hand, en route to cover his mouth, grazed the material of the woman’s halter with the filament, depositing a trace of acid. He let the hair-like strand drop to the floor, crushing it underfoot. Holding up his E-ID pass, he stared as required towards one of the monoliths, the under-dressed woman behind him. He held his breath.

Whoops and guffaws erupted as her halter snapped. Gabriel turned around, feigning surprise and interest, and the guards manhandled him through the full-scan checkpoint without serious attention. Once past he walked to the empty restroom and located the locked stall marked Out of Order. His fingers rapped in the entry digicode, and he stepped inside. He found what he expected, a small black rucksack, and checked the contents: gravitics, stiletto knife, and slimline S&W pulse gun with night-sighter. All he required now was his target’s name, but his wristcom stayed quiet. His handler didn’t usually leave it this late. 

He zipped up the bag. As he headed out, he checked his reflection in the restroom mirror, and paused. He searched for any trace of the young man he’d been before the War, before becoming a killing machine, before losing her... Eyes black and remorseless as a shark stared back at him; hers had been green, forgiving. She would have been twenty-seven today. He slung the rucksack over his shoulder. Happy birthday, Jenny. He broke off his gaze, stole through the door, and entered the holorium

My Thoughts

The Eden Paradox is the first in a series of four science fiction books and although it is not a genre I read a lot of, I was sucked into the story from the off. It almost seems wrong to talk about 'the story' as it is in fact a complex tale which addresses some weighty themes. The manipulation of life, destruction of the planet and the place of Man within a larger Universe are threaded through an action packed story. I had to have all my wits about me at times, to keep up.

    All this is set fifty years in the future which enables one to apply the environmental issues to today's world. The dying Earth and ravaged landscape is totally believable as are the sets of characters we meet. The story moves relentlessly out from Earth into space as some of those left on Earth try to find a new home elsewhere. Whether they will be welcomed out there remains to be seen. Full of adventure, twists and turns and with some great characters, it certainly paves the way for the subsequent books.

In short: A future dystopia awaits.  

About the Author

Barry (J F) Kirwan is a split personality. He writes science fiction under the name Barry Kirwan, and thrillers under his pen name J F Kirwan. In his day job, he travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! This led to an acclaimed four-book series called the Eden Paradox. But when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters.Two of these thrillers are now out and he's working on the third, as well as a new science fiction novel called 'When the children come.' 

You can follow Barry here: Website   |  Blog   |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Book links: Goodreads   |  Amazon UK  

Thanks to Barry Kirwan and Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.


To be in with a chance to win a £20 or $25 just follow the link below and good luck!

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