If they were at this point in the 1980’s, where are they now?
Gen-Tec laboratories, Pennsylvania, USA
Dr Eugene Marks is a transhumanist. A man who believes the human species is ready for a giant leap in evolutionary progress. He has perfected a type of genetic engineering, called the third way, whereby a deformed body can be regrown. There is only one problem. To accomplish this, the person must die, to be reborn in their new body.
Genetic engineering will change the face of humanity forever, Marks believes. It is only a matter of time.
Or maybe not; there is one man who might be able to at least put the inevitable back several decades, or perhaps stop it entirely.
This desire to perfect the human race stems from a philosophy called eugenics. The term is credited to one Francis Galton, back in 1883. Simply put, it is encouraging what a certain elite segment of society perceives as the best: the healthiest, most intelligent, people, to have children.
But there is a darker side. A group who believe culling, sterilisation and segregation are the answer for those whom this class feel are unfit to breed.
Into this maelstrom comes the cutting, manic energy and genius of Dr Eugene Marks. He leaves Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory and sets up on his own.
But someone is out to stop him. Cardinal Andrew Winter from Philadelphia heads a secret group within the catholic church. They are determined to stop Marks, as Winter sees it, encroaching on God’s territory. Manipulating human genes, human DNA.
Meanwhile, back in the ancient market town of Athlone in midlands Ireland, his nephew is propping up the bar of the Royal Hoey hotel. A former burnt-out psychic catholic priest, Fr John Winter wants nothing to do with his high flying uncle. Until an envelope arrives to Winter’s home: it starts ‘John, if you are reading this, I am probably missing, or dead’.