What if food was scarce … and what was available might kill you? Seed, a science fiction novel by Robert Ziegler, explores this scenario in a thoughtful and entertaining manner.
Stats for Seed by Robert Ziegler
By Author: Robert Ziegler
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. You can find it at other online and offline booksellers, as well.
Summary of Seed
In a future world, where climatic change has made traditional food sources obsolete, there is a biogenetically created living city that provides all the seed that will grow in this new environment. But the people who created this city have their own agenda, one that does not have the common good in mind.
In his debut novel, Seed, Rob Ziegler paints a world where living conditions are harsh, people live for themselves and altruism is hard to come by. Into this world, he sends an autistic boy and his brother, a soldier who still has nightmares from her imprisonment in Siberia, and an assorted supporting cast of folks who are not always what they seem at first.
There is Brood and his autistic brother Pollo. They are scavengers, using trade to get the food they need, traveling with a less-than-ideal role model, who nevertheless keeps food in their stomachs and often a roof over their heads. Little does anyone know … reader included … the important role that Pollo will play in the future of the human race.
There is Sergeant Sienna Doss, a tough soldier who always completes her missions, but is haunted by images of snow falling on corpses from her captivity in Siberia. Thankfully, she is the type of soldier who knows when not to follow orders.
There are Pihadassa and Sumedha, biogenetically engineered siblings and mates who separately unravel the plot that could destroy humanity … but develop entirely different ways to solve that dilemma.
And all roads eventually lead to Satori, a living city made of flesh and blood grown over the ruins of Denver, Colo. Satori produces the seed that feeds what is left of the people of the United States. But Satori is not self-aware … it is a mindless beast the does the will of the fathers … the four men who created it. It nurtures them in pods, while they wait for their creations, Pihadassa and Sumedha, to design a genetic graft that will make them uniquely adapted to the new world.
The research conducted to develop that graft led to the creation of the Tet, a disease dispersed through the seed that slowly kills you by destroying your joints and connective tissues.
What Worked for Me
In the hands of an inexperienced or untalented writer, having a cast as large and geographically diverse as those in Seed, can leave the reader always wondering who is the focus from one chapter to the next. But Zeigler did an excellent job of creating rich, culturally and psychologically diverse characters that you wanted to continue reading about. Each had a distinct and unique voice, so you were never lost.
Reading Seed pulls you into a wasteland of a world, where simple things such as family, are the only things that keep you alive. Family defined by behavior, not necessarily blood. A world where kids must be adults; where religion is used to terrorize and subdue; where good and evil are not as clear as one would hope.
Ziegler deftly takes you through that world, switching from one character to the next with grace and ease, as they all converge on Satori. And the ending you think you see coming constantly eludes you.
Richly developed characters, a stark believable world, and agendas that are never 100 percent clear make Seed an engaging read. Not light. Not heavy. Just thoughtful and entertaining.
Score for Seed by Robert Ziegler: 4 Palm Trees out of 5 Possible
NOTE: Although I received this book free to review, that did not affect my opinion of the book. Read past reviews of books I’ve received for free and you’ll know I don’t hold my punches.