Combining elements of drama, historical fiction and science fiction, The Underlying Hand is an original, fascinating novel that explores controversial subjects such as the origins of mankind, the Sons of God, Eden, and The Flood.
The story begins in the Nibiru Space Station 64,000 years before The Flood. Having escaped from near annihilation, the Marduks are now in search of a solar system and habitable planet that can sustain their existence. They must find a new home as soon as possible because they’re being bombarded by cosmic radiation and many of their people are suffering from tumors and cancer. Fortunately, scientists are working on this to find a solution and do so early in the story, with the added advantage of near immortality. Years pass and they finally reach planet earth, a place similar to their own in atmosphere and cellular life. They first land in a valley filled with lush grasslands and berries, a valley they name Eden. When they realize the creatures in this planet are technologically inferior, the Marduks take the arrogant assumption that they’re superior in all aspects and they’ll be looked upon as gods. Most of them don’t consider the possibility that perhaps these primitive-looking, earthly creatures are more advanced in other ways than their own.
The Marduks are a technologically super-advanced society with a dictatorial monarchy. Their original lifespan of 12,000 years has been expanded to near infinite provided they take their radiation bath cure. The king, Jova, has absolute, god-like power. His power is followed by a Council. The novel, however, is mainly told from the perspective of Nin, Jova’s daughter, who acts as a kind of observer to everything that is going on. Through her dialogue with other characters and especially her conversations with her two brothers as well as with Uriel, the royal sage and mentor, the author raises many important issues such as: What is the spiritual cost of a super-advanced society? Is immortality worth pursuing? Is it the law of the universe for the stronger to dominate the weaker? Is there such a thing as a soul or consciousness?
As the Marduks begin colonizing earth, they experience a shift caused by the “eternal polarizer” — that is, God and religion. Jova’s two sons take opposing, conflicting views as they rule over the earthly creatures, causing prosperity and harm to both their own race and mankind. Eventually, they must decide whether or not to sacrifice their identity and genetically mingle with mankind in order to survive and reach their ambitious aspirations.
Written with special attention to detail, The Underlying Hand is an engrossing, fascinating read that will make you think about our origins and wonder about the hierarchies of intelligent societies. Though it has strong science fiction elements, it reads more like serious drama than a regular commercial page-turner. The author uses a lot of dialogue to relay information and advance the plot. The setting is skillfully crafted, making the space station and the world of the Marduks alive with vivid images and detail. There’s also a lot of interesting description relating to biology and genetics. This isn’t a novel easily forgotten and I’m certainly looking forward to the next installment in the chronicles. Recommended.