Last Tango in Cyberspace

St. Martin's. May 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781250202079. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250202086. SF
OrangeReviewStarJudah Zorn touches the Rastafarian faith's Rod of Correction and feels its power. He advises the Rastafarians that the rod, rather than being a discarded relic, remains a mighty force. Judah, now known as Lion, becomes accepted as the first empathy (or em-) tracker, able to spot cultural shifts and trends before they happen. His ability becomes financially lucrative until he meets Sir Richard of Arctic Pharmaceuticals, who entices Lion to go further. Sir Richard provides some photos; the one that reels him in is a decapitated head on a table with three lines of a silver powder, which seems to change pheromones in a way that allows a family to lie down and sleep among a pride of lions in South Africa. The head on the table belonged to Richard Walker, a big-game hunter who is dead from remorse for the animals he killed. The formula for the drug has great potential for Arctic, but for Lion the desire to understand the powder's capability is what drives his hunt.
VERDICT Reminiscent of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, this near-futuristic setting for ancient connections somehow seem possible for our own future. Both thriller and sf, the latest from Kotler (Tomorrowland) is sure to please a broad range of readers. The characters are well-developed and ultimately "peeled to the core," which makes for a fascinating read. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 11/19/18.]
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