Podiobook Review: 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins

7th Son: DescentBack in April, I mentioned that I was very much hooked on the podcast novel 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins. I had started listening to the novel in preparation for having J.C. Hutchins on The Round Table and very quickly found myself drawn into the story.

Throughout the summer, I waited patiently for each new episode to appear in my personal feed from Podiobooks, and 7th Son shot to the top of my “Must Listen” list.

The story revolves around seven men who are abruptly pulled out of their normal lives and brought to a top secret facility where their true history is revealed. The seven men couldn’t be more different—from the hardcore marine to the musician to the computer hacker, the geneticist and the criminal psychologist—but they soon find out that they have more in common than anyone could have guessed. In fact, they are all clones of a man known as John Alpha, who engineered the recent assassination of the President of the United States.

Alpha’s intentions are unclear, but he leaves a trail of clues that only the clones—with their unique skills and their shared childhood memories—can decipher. Alpha has also kidnapped the clones’ “mother,” providing further incentive for them to unravel the mystery and follow their progenitor’s twisted path.

7th Son is a tight, gripping thriller with a healthy dose of near-future science fiction thrown in for good measure. Hutchins not only dives head first into cloning and its ramifications (one of the clones is Father Thomas, a Catholic priest who fears that he and his brethren have no souls), he also delves into memory transference and storing an individual’s personality and experiences in a massive supercomputer.

Descent covers a lot of ground, with tendrils of the story reaching out all across the United States and beyond, to military installations in the former Soviet Union. John Alpha has enlisted the aid of a mercenary named Doug Devlin, and in doing so has created his own personal army. To what end? The first book does not reveal the intricacies of Alpha’s plot, but there are two more installments to come.

Book Two, subtitled Deceit is set for release in late September. As with Book One, Deceit will be released in weekly installments, a format that has worked incredibly well so far. Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, or with some new revelation that leaves the listener hungry for more. If Hutchins can maintain the momentum he built up in Descent, Book Two is bound to be one hell of an exciting roller coaster ride.