The Genes of Isis

Written by Justin Newland
Review by J. Lynn Else

A flood is coming, one capable of wiping out all life on earth. However, when Akasha and Horque lock eyes for the first time, divine beings known as the Watchers bless the two as the last hope for humanity. Their progeny will survive the flood and repopulate the earth. But their union is taboo. Akasha is human, while Horque is a Solarii, aliens/“angels” in human form stranded on earth until an old curse can be made right. Set in the Old Kingdom, The Genes of Isis is a speculative tale about the evolution of man to homo sapiens sapiens.

Unfortunately, the research is bare minimum with incorrect facts sprinkled throughout. People didn’t say “fire at will”; things like chessboards and bridesmaids didn’t exist yet; 3rd, 4th, and 18th Dynasty names are haphazardly mixed in; the country wasn’t called Egypt (a Greek name), it was Kemet; and Thebes (another Greek name) was called Waset. Plot-wise, most progression happens due to divine intervention. At first, Akasha finds Horque odd and arrogant, but after the diving blessing, she’s insta-love crazy for him. Threats are solved not by human effort but by mysterious forces telling people what to do or removing obstacles. This, consequently, removes opportunities for character growth. Only Horque’s mother shows initiative to influence the plot, which comes at great cost to her.

Despite its “speculative” classification, if the historical setting isn’t supported by strong research, the story’s not believable. Language and mindsets are too modern in their references, making it difficult to reconcile the setting with its characters. Flying machines in ancient Egypt? Pyramids and obelisks built by aliens? For history fans, this disappoints. However, Newland cultivates many creative story elements, and as a science fiction story, it totally works. As a speculative piece set in ancient times, it doesn’t.