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First time novelist John Farrell has written a good scary thriller that combines equal parts of Brent Monahan's Book of Common Dread and George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, as a small group of amateur detectives' independent investigations all focus on the Reverend Doctor Robert H. Janeway, a Harvard Divinity School professor who seems to have survived into the present from Colonial times, and the strange goings-on in and around Harvard's Widener Library.

Miriam Tailor's research on her own family has convinced her that Janeway is an ancestor who is supposed to have died four hundred years ago.  Leon Bradley is a retiring professor determined to figure out how his friend, Father Burton, could possibly have been decomposing before he died.     While Glen DiStasio and Irwin Strathmond are astronomers, curious about the odd behavior of a star in the Monoceros system.  All these storylines eventually converge around Janeway.

Farrell keeps his story moving at a brisk pace and provides some genuinely frightening moments.  Some of the physics used to explain Janeway's longevity seemed awfully sketchy to me, but if you get caught up in the tension of the tale it's not too hard to suspend your disbelief.  This is a fine first effort that holds out the promise of better books to come.


Grade: (B-)


Book-related and General Links:
    -Harvard Medical School : Carl J. Shapiro Institute : John Farrell : Multimedia Specialist
    -ESSAY :  No Rare Cosmic Pollutants Need Apply : Some great new info from NASA. (John Farrell, 7/20/00, National Review)
    -ESSAY : A Famine, Revisited : We've been blaming the Irish potato famine on the wrong culprit (John Farrell, June 18, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : The Lumber of Life ? : A new NASA report  (John Farrell, 1/31/01 , National Review)
    -ESSAY :  Beating the Limit : Speed freaks (John Farrell, 7/21/00, National Review)
    -ESSAY :  We Are Alone in the Universe : And we feel fine (John Farrell, 5/25/00, National Review)
    -ESSAY :  Life on Mars? : Mr. Taft, bring down that tax!  (John Farrell, 6/23/00, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Did Einstein Cheat ? : Is the great physicist's most famous theory a crock? Members of the anti-relativity underground think so  (John Farrell, July 6  2000, Salon)
    -ESSAY : Back From The Dead? (John Farrell, Imagine News)
    -REVIEW : of Dreams of a Final Theory. By Steven Weinberg (John Farrell , First Things)
    -INTERVIEW : with John Farrell : Video on the Web : Richard II Meets MPEG-I (NELS JOHNSON, Digital Video)
    -ARTICLE :  Algonquin issue is hot topic for board candidates (SHAWN REGAN, May 2, 2000, Metro West Daily News)
    -REVIEW : of Doctor Janeway's Plague (Jon Lehman, Patriot Ledger)
    -REVIEW : of Doctor Janeway's Plague (Lisa's Book Review)
    -REVIEW :   of Doctor Janeway's Plague  (Pat Holt, Holt Uncensored)