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The Andromeda Evolution


The Andromeda Evolution

In 1969, Michael Crichton unleashed THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN on the world. It was a certified blockbuster of a novel that followed the Wildfire team as it sought to understand and contain a deadly alien virus known as the Andromeda Strain, with the ultimate hope of preventing it from eradicating life on Earth. Following the success of the Wildfire team, protocols are put into place to be vigilant and prepared for a possible recurrence.

Jump forward 50 years. Michael Crichton has left us, which is still sad. His estate tapped Daniel H. Wilson, a fine author in his own right, and one with a background in computers and robotics that fits in perfectly with this, well, evolution.

THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION finds our world once again unknowingly on the brink of destruction thanks to the resurgence of the Andromeda Strain in the Amazon jungle, discovered by mere chance when a Brazilian security drone comes across an odd metallic shape, and military satellite readings find a quickly spreading mutation of what appears to be the original Strain.

"THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION is a superbly crafted novel, both as a sequel and as a stand-alone work... Anyone who loves a solid technothriller will be caught up in it."

Project Wildfire is alerted, the program kept in place for just such an occasion. This time, the team on the ground seeking to secure and eliminate the virus is a varied amalgamation of heroes, comprised of military minds, viral experts and one James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone, part of the team that worked on the original Strain.

Wilson crafts a story complete with a tone and even writing beats that are spot-on mimics for Crichton. He has designed some really spectacular characters from varied backgrounds and abilities, who all play a necessary role in saving humanity. Used within a dynamically engaging story, one that Crichton himself no doubt would be proud of, Wilson very capably carries the torch by making it his own and yet making sure to keep the legacy he's borrowing intact.

Setting THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION within the massive mystery of the deep Amazon jungle is a bold and exciting move, and it goes a long way toward making this sequel more energized and active than its precursor. Throw in some action in outer space, and the excitement grows all the more. Add in Wilson's abilities to imbue the tale with new technological creations that aid our science team, and it is a fantastic technothriller that in no way ignores its true science fiction roots. THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION has a clock running. The Wildfire team has five days to secure and eliminate the evolving Andromeda Strain, or all life as we know it will end. Solutions used in the previous event are no longer viable for a number of reasons. It makes for an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride with an ending that is ingeniously played.

One always approaches such books, particularly sequels published 50 years after the original, with a bit of hesitation, especially if the author is no longer involved in the process. The big question is: Will it live up to its predecessor? In the case of THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION, those fears and concerns may be set aside. Wilson seamlessly weaves together the two novels into the same mold. Having just finished THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN a few weeks ago, there was no discernable shift in style or tone to jolt me out of that world Crichton created as the story moves into Wilson's sandbox.

THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION is a superbly crafted novel, both as a sequel and as a stand-alone work (yes, you can just read this one easily, but why would you want to?). Anyone who loves a solid technothriller will be caught up in it. More importantly, if you have loved the work Michael Crichton gave us during his time on earth, you will be pleased that such care was taken in devising a worthy follow-up.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on November 15, 2019

The Andromeda Evolution
by Michael Crichton and Daniel H. Wilson