the eternal world book coverReviewed by Marcus Hammond

What if there was a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s, or any fatal injury? What if this cure could be mass-produced? Would we use such a gift morally, or would the rich and powerful use it selfishly to gain more power? These are the questions that make up the intricate web of suspense, espionage, and history at the core of The Eternal World by Christopher Farnsworth.

David Robinton has dedicated his life to finding a cure for all diseases. His obsession with his work makes him the perfect candidate for a new research program at a medical research facility called Conquest. Simon Oliver, the CEO of Conquest, pulls out all the stops to win David’s favor. In return for a lavish lifestyle that David isn’t sure he can handle, Simon asks David to reverse-engineer a compound that eliminates cellular degeneration, and therefore aging, disease, and ultimately death. How Simon came across the miracle compound and the lengths he and his board of directors are willing to go to in order to protect it are questions that take David on a deadly whirlwind of revenge and lies.

Farnsworth has blended history, espionage, suspense, science, and even a bit of romance so well that it’s hard to place this novel within a specific genre and even harder to put it down. At the start of the story, it seems that David gets caught up in a medical mystery. Simon gives David the answer to his life’s work and unlimited resources. David, unfortunately, can see that the compound erases disease, but can’t figure out how or why.

As David gets closer and closer to unraveling the mystery and replicating the compound, though, his seemingly perfect life begins to unravel and centuries of conflict come crashing down around him. What David assumed was a medical and scientific breakthrough manufactured by Conquest’s scientists turns out to be liquid from the fabled Fountain of Youth. What he thinks will be the fulfillment of his life’s work turns out to be a savage ploy by a group of centuries old conquistadors to cheat death even longer, and the woman he loves also has a role to play.

Farnsworth’s characterizations are perfect. David’s blend of genius and naivety make him the ideal character to build intrigue around. Simon and his band of Immortals play the shortsighted, fearful, power-hungry conquerors of death so well that their greedy and panic spills off the pages. Finally, Shako, who much like Pandora and her box of sins, unleashed Simon and his company’s lust for power on the world, fits flawlessly into the plot as David’s love interest. The development of these three characterizations help to slowly build intrigue as Farnsworth focuses the first half of the book on the present, relinquishes the suspense to build the back-story between Shako, Simon, and the discovery of the Fountain of Youth, and comes back full force to the present to bring the story to a bloody end.

The Eternal World expertly melds multiple genres together to force the reader to face the reality of immortality. If the Fountain of Youth was real, would it become a source of revenge and bloodshed; would it be selfishly exploited for power; or would it be used selflessly to help everyone in need?

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.