A.G. Riddle’s Origin Mystery Series

AG_RiddleAbout the author:

Grew up in: Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Education:

B.A.- Business Administration and Management, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Website: www.agriddle.com

Thriller Sub-genre: Techno-thriller/Science Fiction

Future of the Series: Riddle wrote the Origin Mystery series as a trilogy, so I do not expect to see anymore additions.

The Simon Review

Homo sapiens’ evolutionary “Great Leap Forward”, which occurred about 80,000 years ago, was a time period in which a rapid advancement in human behavior and tool production occurred.  There are a number of theories on why this took place including the possibilities in changes to the human genome.  A.G. Riddle has his own more imaginative theory on the “Great Leap Forward” which includes the lost mythical island of Atlantis, and, of course, aliens.

A.G. Riddle’s Origin series is a trilogy but in reality is actually one long book and a complicated one at that.  It is complicated mainly because there is a lot of jumping from one time period to another, includes a lot a characters, and the first book leaves a lot more questions than answers, which is why I strongly recommend reading the entire series in order to really appreciate it.

The series really focuses on four major characters; Dr. Kate Warner, a brilliant geneticist; David Vale, an agent with a counterterrorism group known as the Clocktower; Dorian Sloane, Director of Immari International- a powerful global corporation; and later in the series, Targen Ares, an alien from the Atlantis home world.  Kate Warner and David Vale are the protagonist and meet up early in the series.  It becomes obvious very early on in the story that these two will develop a more romantic relationship as they share a common thread, which is to save the world from evil.  That evil happens to be Dorian Sloane and Targen Ares.  Ares and Sloane are interesting evil characters as their malevolence is driven by a common goal which they believe to be in the best interest for the survival of humanity.  My feelings at the end was rather ambivalent toward these two, especially Sloane as he is more a victim of a destiny that he had no control over.

This series has a lot to offer, science, conspiracies, Armageddon and, of course, aliens, but for some it may be overwhelming which is reflected in the many reviews that have come out over this series.  I found myself having difficulties particularly getting through the second book, as it seem to go on longer than it should have.  The third book was undoubtedly the best as it wrapped up all the questions that had been presented early in the series.

Author A.G. Riddle is a success story as he is one of the few self-published writers that have made into the best seller category.  His success has also managed to get the attention from Hollywood as CBS Films bought the rights to the origin trilogy.  So for you indie authors out there, great success does happen.

If you have found that you like the storyline behind this series and you’re looking to read similar stories, James Rollins just released The Bone Labyrinth which also deals with issues of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and a possible correlation with Atlantis.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series- Atlantis World- because everything starts to come together

Least Favorite Novel in the Series- Atlantis Plague- just a bit too long

What about the science? Before writing novels, Riddle spent a vast amount of his time starting up internet companies.  Interested in the technological aspect of his companies, Riddle is very comfortable discussing the more technical aspects of the Origin series.  

The Kate Warner Technical Word in Review: Epigenetic– Our DNA is a blueprint for who we are, but it is not a simple straight forward blueprint.  Not all our genes are turned on at the same time, some will turn on only at different stages of our life, and some may not turn on at all unless some outside stimulus turns them on.  So even though our genetic makeup may be written in stone, the final outcome is not.  Epigenetics is an area of genetics that studies how our genes are expressed and what is the end result of the protein it produces.

The most common form of epigenetic modification, and an area of intense research, is the addition and removal of methyl (CH3) groups to either DNA or to a protein known as histones.  DNA is stored in our cells by folding around proteins known as histones.  Our genes are not active while the DNA is folded around the histones and it is necessary for enzymes to assist in the unfolding to allow for the expression of the genes.  However if the structure of the histones are altered as in adding a methyl group, the ability of the histone protein to bind to the DNA changes, and genes that may have not been exposed previously are now being expressed or genes that should be expressed are now suppressed.  Additionally methylation of the DNA itself will affect whether our genes are activated or not.

So how are the DNA and histones methylated?  There is a group of enzymes that add, as well as remove methyl groups to certain bases of DNA, namely cytosine, which are known as DNA methyltransferases.  There are also enzymes that methylate the histone proteins. Methylation patterns seem to have a significant role in the development of cancer, aging, as well as other diseases.  Understanding how these methylation patterns work and how to control them may result in cures for cancer, atherosclerosis, and even slow down aging.

Besides methylation there are many other ways the expression of our genes may be effected, including DNA damage, viral infections, exposure to carcinogens, as well as the diets we eat, so the study of epigenetics is quite complicated.  To aid in this research, identical twins, which share identical genomes, are used as subjects in many epigenetic studies. Even though twins share an identical genetic makeup they also exhibit their own unique traits as a result of epigenetic changes.

twins
Identical twin are good subjects for epigenetic studies. (Wikipedia)

“… The therapy is a retrovirus that inserts a gene into the subject’s genetic code.  It’s not a significant genetic change, but it does have a cascade effect at the epigenetic level, turning on and off a series of other, preexisting genes in the host. -The Atlantis Gene

Books in the Series by Order:

Most Favorite in the series: The Atlantis World and The Atlantis Plague (tie) with a score of 3.99

Least Favorite in the series: The Atlantis Gene with a score of 3.80

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)

#1-The Atlantis Gene- 2013

First Line:

Karl Selig steadied himself on the ship’s rail and peered through the binoculars at the massive iceberg.


Characters

Katherine Warner: Geneticist working on autism research

David Vale: Agent that work with the counterterrorism group Clockwork

Dorian Sloane: Director of Immari International – a powerful corporation

Martin Grey: Warner’s adoptive father and scientist

Patrick Pierce: An engineer that was injured in WWI, is hired by the Immari group to oversee a dig in Gibraltar in 1918

Josh Cohen: Clocktower surveillance tech working with David Vale

Konrad Kane: German in charge of the Gibraltar dig

Dr. Sheng Chang: A scientist interested in the Atlantis gene

Milo: A young Tibetan monk


The Setting

Jakarta, Indonesia; New Delhi, India; Antarctica; Burang, China; Tibet; Gibraltar


THE GREATEST MYSTERY OF ALL TIME…
THE HISTORY OF HUMAN ORIGINS…
WILL BE REVEALED.

————————————

70,000 years ago, the human race almost went extinct.
We survived, but no one knows how.
Until now.
The countdown to the next stage of human evolution is about to begin, and humanity may not survive this time.

————————————

The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they have hidden the truth about human evolution. And they’ve searched for an ancient enemy — a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over.

Off the coast of Antarctica, a research vessel has discovered a mysterious structure buried deep in an iceberg. It’s been there for thousands of years, and it isn’t man made. The Immari think they know what it is, but they aren’t taking any chances. The time has come to execute their master plan: humanity must evolve or perish. In a lab in Indonesia, a brilliant geneticist may have just discovered the key to their plan.

Four years ago, Dr. Kate Warner left California for Jakarta, Indonesia to escape her past. She hasn’t recovered from what happened to her, but she has made an incredible discovery: a cure for autism. Or so she thinks. What she’s found is actually far more dangerous. Her research could rewrite human history and unleash the next stage of human evolution. In the hands of the Immari, it would mean the end of humanity as we know it.

One man has seen pieces of the Immari conspiracy: Agent David Vale. But he’s out of time to stop it. His informant is dead. His organization has been infiltrated. His enemy is hunting him. But when he receives a cryptic code from an anonymous source, he risks everything to save the only person that can solve it: Dr. Kate Warner.

Now Kate and David must race to unravel a global conspiracy and learn the truth about the Atlantis Gene… and human origins. Their journey takes them to the far corners of the globe and into the secrets of their pasts. The Immari are close on their heels and will stop at nothing to find the Atlantis Gene and force the next stage of human evolution — even if it means killing 99.9% of the world’s population. David and Kate can stop them… if they can trust each other. And stay alive.


“You have it, doctor. It’s all in the file. And we’re retrieving more data now. That’s not all. We have two subjects with sustained Atlantis Gene activation.”


Looking for a review of The Atlantis Gene?  Check out:

Teaching a Zombie Language

Narratively Raw

Norfolk’s Great Big Read

Reviews of a Self Proclaimed Bibliophile

I am Sam Tule

On That Note…

TWBR

Novel Escapism

The Great Adventure

The Book-Ends

T.L Zalecki

Pour-Over Parchment

Life of Chaz

The Book Unicorn

Mostly Short Stories


Amazon Rating-US: 4.13 out of 5 stars based on 11,538 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.22 out of 5 stars based on 357 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.67 out of 5 stars based on 24,875 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 7 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.39 out of 5 stars based on 106 ratings

Total Score 3.80 (Updated 3/28/16)

 

DNA2

#2-The Atlantis Plague- 2013

First Line:

The scientist opened her eyes and shook her head, trying to clear it.


Characters

Kate Warner, David Vale, Dorian Sloane, Martin Grey, Dr. Sheng Chang, Patrick Pierce, and Milo

Arthur Janus: Brilliant scientist with an unknown allegiance

Adam Shaw: A British soldier assigned to take Kate Warner back to Britian

Mr. Kamau: A soldier that had fought alongside David Vale

Dr. Paul Brenner: CDC scientist trying to find a cure for the Atlantis plague

Mary Caldwell: Astronomer and former wife of Paul Brenner


The Setting

Marbella, Spain; Atlanta, Georgia; Antarctica; Cape Town, South Africa; Nuremberg, Germany; Morocco; Isla de Alborán; Malta


A PANDEMIC 70,000 YEARS IN THE MAKING…
WILL CHANGE HUMANITY…
FOREVER.
________________________________________

In Marbella, Spain, Dr. Kate Warner awakens to a horrifying reality: the human race stands on the brink of extinction. A pandemic unlike any before it has swept the globe. Nearly a billion people are dead–and those the Atlantis Plague doesn’t kill, it transforms at the genetic level. A few rapidly evolve. The remainder devolve.

As the world slips into chaos, radical solutions emerge. Industrialized nations offer a miracle drug, Orchid, which they mass produce and distribute to refugee camps around the world. But Orchid is merely a way to buy time. It treats the symptoms of the plague but never actually cures the disease.

Immari International offers a different approach: do nothing. Let the plague run its course. The Immari envision a world populated by the genetically superior survivors–a new human race, ready to fulfill its destiny.

With control of the world population hanging in the balance, the Orchid Alliance and the Immari descend into open warfare. Now humanity’s last hope is to find a cure, and Kate alone holds the key to unraveling the mystery surrounding the Atlantis Plague. The answer may lie in understanding pivotal events in human history–events when the human genome mysteriously changed. Kate’s journey takes her across the barren wastelands of Europe and northern Africa, but it’s her research into the past that takes her where she never expected to go. She soon discovers that the history of human evolution is not what it seems–and setting it right may require a sacrifice she never imagined.


They had kept Kate almost completely in the dark, but she knew one thing: they needed her. She was immune to the Atlantis Plague, the perfect person to carry out their trials.


Looking for a review of The Atlantis Plague?  Check out:

Reviews of a Self Proclaimed Bibliophile

I am Sam Tule

On That Note…

The Great Adventure


Amazon Rating: 4.39 out of 5 stars based on 4,118 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.36 out of 5 stars based on 181 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.87 out of 5 stars based on 13,132 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: not rated

Library Thing Rating: 3.72 out of 5 stars based on 37 ratings

Total Score 3.99 (Updated 3/28/16)

 

virus

#3-The Atlantis World- 2014

Listed #222 out of 542 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List

Listed #141 out of 165 on Goodreads Best Science Thrillers Book List

First Line:

For the last forty-eight hours, Dr. Mary Caldwell had spent every waking second studying the signal the radio telescope had received.


Characters

Kate Warner, David Vale, Dorian Sloane, Milo, Patrick Pierce, Arthur Janus, Paul Brenner, and Mary Caldwell

Targen Ares: An alien from the world of Atlantis

Triteia Isis: An Atlantean scientist


The Setting

Puerto Rico; Atlanta, Georgia; Antarctica; Atlantean spaceship


With humanity’s back against the wall…
A signal from space could be the key to saving the human race…

As the clock ticks down, a team of scientists will risk it all to unravel the secrets of the Atlantis World.
_________________________________________________________

Northern Morocco: Dr. Kate Warner cured a global pandemic, and she thought she could cure herself. She was wrong. And she was wrong about the scope of the Atlantis conspiracy. Humanity faces a new threat, an enemy beyond imagination. With her own time running out and the utter collapse of human civilization looming, a new hope arrives: a signal from a potential ally.

Arecibo Observatory: Mary Caldwell has spent her life waiting, watching the stars, looking for signs of intelligent life beyond our world. When that day comes, Mary finds herself in the middle of a struggle older than the human race, with far greater stakes. She must decide who to trust, because there’s nowhere to hide.

Antarctica: In the wake of the Atlantis Plague, Dorian Sloane finds himself a puppet to Ares’ mysterious agenda. As Dorian prepares to take control of the situation, Ares unleashes a cataclysm that changes everything. As the catastrophe circles the globe, Ares reveals the true nature of the threat to humanity, and Dorian agrees to one last mission: find and kill David Vale and Kate Warner. There will be no prisoners this time. The orders are seek and destroy, and Dorian has been promised that his own answers and salvation lie on the other side.

With Dorian in pursuit, Kate, David, and their team race through the ruins of the Atlantean ship left on Earth, across Atlantean science stations throughout the galaxy, and into the past of a mysterious culture whose secrets could save humanity in its darkest hour. With their own lives on the line and time slipping away, Kate, David and Dorian are put to the ultimate test.


“They’re gone. Janus must have deleted them. I don’t see how- there are strict regulations around resurrection memory storage. The computer core may have been damaged during the attack. Some memories are corrupted. I had hoped I could find some clue about the enemy that destroyed the Atlantis world, the enemy that could one day come for Earth. It’s the best thing I can do with my time.


Looking for a review of The Atlantis World?  Check out:

Haunted Library

Reviews of a Self Proclaimed Bibliophile


Amazon Rating: 4.28 out of 5 stars based on 3,462 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.47 out of 5 stars based on 123 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.92 out of 5 stars based on 14,081 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: not rated

Library Thing Rating: 3.58 out of 5 stars based on 31 ratings

Total Score 3.99 (updated 1/25/17)