Karen Hancock's The Enclave is a sci-fi epic (nearly 500 pages) about monsters, mad scientists, and the women who love them. (Or wind up carrying their babies, anyway, which is Modern Romance for you.)
The story begins with Lacey McHenry, a relatively new hire at the Kendall-Jakes Longevity Institute. She's hot and bothered. She's hot because, as a typical heroine, she's just kind of built that way. She's bothered because resident absent-minded professor Cameron Reinhardt has unwittingly unleashed a plague of frogs, and she has to put them back in their place. (Frogs seldom know their place. Ask any ancient Egyptian.)
But Lacey soon becomes even more bothered. First, it turns out her ex-husband (now ex-living as well, which was a do-it-himself project) was abusive and tried to turn her mind into a cuckoo clock. But she also discovers that she has an unannounced assistant who helps with the frog problem by eating them--or their legs, anyway. She eventually calls him Frogeater, even though (minor spoiler) he isn't French. He is kind of violent, though.
In the aftermath of Frogeater's visit, Cameron (the aforementioned absent-minded professor) tends to her wounds in a remarkably professional manner. In turns out that he used to be in Special Forces before having a Terrible Experience that did turn his mind into a cuckoo clock--and one that doesn't keep accurate time, either. It takes practically the whole book for him to get all the way through his flashbacks of the Terrible Experience to regain a Terrible Truth or two.
Meanwhile, there is a major cover up of Frogeater's visit, apparently on orders from Parker Swain, the dashing pseudo-young megalomaniac who runs the place. His hobby is rewriting personnel records to make everyone else look as psycho as he is. He's also a lady-killer. Perhaps literally. Oh, and he has zero tolerance for Christianity. He believes Lacey is in remission, but Cameron is active and possibly even contagious.
Then there's the Enclave. There about had to be one somewhere, given the title. It's a group of subterranean post-apocalyptic cultists herded around by Enforcers, who sport black clothes and a third eye. Enforcers are always grouchy because they really look funny with glasses.
So what does the Enclave have to do with the rest of it? A lot, actually. We'll go into some of that over the next couple days; tomorrow I'll focus on the good points of the story.
Meanwhile, check out what the other CFRB bloggers have to say:
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