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Book Review: The Chimera Seed by Matthew Tully

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The Chimera Seed can best be described as a taut, energetic thriller. From its opening pages where you learn that a famed, visionary scientist has died and left his son, Dr. Michael Tiernan, a huge inheritance, the story rolls along and gathers speed like a snowball starting an avalanche down a mountainside.

Matthew Tully is a writer skilled at developing suspense. Tully’s The Chimera Seed begins when Michael Tiernan hears of his father’s death and travels to a remote area of the Sardinian countryside. There, he learns from his father’s best friend about the astonishing Niamh seed.

The Niamh is no ordinary seed. It has been named Chimera because of its peculiar properties. When its mature grapes are distilled, one dose of this potent wine-like chemical — Dionysinol — produces anti-aging in a human being. What’s more, the drug doesn’t just slow down the aging process, it prevents it altogether.

Dr. Tiernan realizes the financial ramifications of a fountain of youth drug. But he is not as careful with secrecy and testing as his deceased father had been. Now, he determines to make an enormous fortune by marketing his anti-aging Dionysinol. He transports samples of the Dionysinol drug back to Oisinen Pharmaceuticals in the States where he is CEO.

Where Tiernan is determined to turn his company into a vast profitable empire, equally resolved are competitive pharmaceutical companies to obtain and uncover the secret of the Dionysinol substance, the Niamh seeds, and the engineering process that turns the Niamh grapes into the immortality drug.

But as clandestine as Dr. Tiernan and his two most trusted chemists are, they get caught up in a ruthless battle that results in espionage and deceit, personal greed, political corruption, and murderous revenge.

Dr. Tiernan learns he has been secretly “treated” to a dose of Dionysinol by an uncooperative employee. Although not the most moral person, when Tiernan learns that a second dose of the immortality drug is lethal, his sense of morality kicks in. He attempts to locate missing vials before the drug can be manufactured and wreak havoc on all mankind.

Unquestionably, the fast pace of The Chimera Seed is hypnotic. The reader will be transported back and forth across the Atlantic with Dr. Tiernan as he hunts the security leak within his own Oisinen Pharmaceutical Company and his vast vineyards in Sardinia. Like Tiernan, the reader will gradually realize the implication an immortal, increasing population would have, on what would become an ever decreasing food supply.

This book is a must read for those seeking an extremely fast paced story of espionage, intrigue, murder, and at times, deliberately imposed physical pain. The main characters are well developed, showing both their self-interest and also their redeeming humanity. Matthew Tully’s tale displays real ingenuity with fascinating twists and turns. I will personally await his other stories. Dan Brown, make room for Matthew Tully.

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