What follows is a letter by Knopf editor Victoria Wilson on Laurence Gonzales’s forthcoming novel, Lucy.
Laurence Gonzales’s Lucy is a daring, high-wire novel, a biotechnical thriller in the great tradition of Mary Shelley and Michael Crichton . . .
The novel opens in the jungles of the Congo. A woman, a primatologist studying chimpanzees—the bonobos—is running for her life.
A civil war has exploded, and she is trapped in the crosshairs. . . . She runs to the camp of a fellow primatologist, a competitor.
The rebels have already been there.
Everyone is dead—except a young girl, who turns out to be the daughter of the fellow scientist. The woman and child flee, the woman grabbing the notebooks of the primatologist who’s been killed.
She brings the young girl to Chicago until some of the girl’s relatives are located.
The girl is fifteen—her name is Lucy. She’s lovely, and soon the scientist realizes that the young girl has no relatives—and the scientist begins to care for Lucy as her own.
Lucy is sent to school. And soon after, the woman reads the notebooks belonging to the young girl’s father and finds out that the adorable, lovely, magical Lucy is the result of an experiment.
Lucy is part human; part ape—a hybrid human being . . .
Gonzales’s novel grabs you from its opening pages and you stay with it, compelled to find out the fate that hangs in the balance of the shy but fierce, wonderfully winning Lucy.
Early reviews have been equally excited by the book. Kirkus has called it “masterful”; Entertainment Weekly, “A fast-paced Crichtonesque thriller,” and Booklist described it “a nail-biting story. . . Gonzales’ imaginative, sweet-natured, hard-charging, and deeply inquisitive thriller will be a catalyst for serious thought and debate.”
Lucy is a wild ride of a novel and Laurence Gonzales goes all the way with it. In the midst of this non-stop adventure, the author deftly manages to raise all of the large moral, ethical, philosophical questions about just what constitutes a human being.
A word of warning: hold on to your socks.
With best wishes,
Vice President, Senior Editor