Book Review – Archaea by Sam Hawksworth

Archaea by Sam HawksworthWhat happens when you mix deadly microbes with religious zealots with animal rights activists? You get an extremely entertaining and well written mystery thriller by debut novelist Sam Hawksworth.

The book opens with a man being transferred against his will from a deep maximum security prison – “a clean version of hell” – and we quickly learn about the book’s title. An archaea is a single celled microorganism that by itself is safe and not pathogenic. But what happens if it is combined with a pathogenic component? As archaea are easily transmitted we suddenly have a mechanism for a worldwide epidemic of the attached pathogen. This one causes infertility, something that the secret organization manufacturing it sees as a plus. Unfortunately, it has the inconvenient side effect of being fatal to about a quarter of a million women worldwide.

That’s the starting point for a wild ride that intertwines the lives of an Ivy League professor, an FBI team out of Boston, a trio of animal rights activists concerned about a secret, paramilitary-protected compound in Texas, a few anti-abortion fanatics, and a smattering of white supremacists, all with their own reasons for supporting, or fighting, the cause.

Hawksworth deftly communicates the intricacies of biological agents while giving us insights into the motives and rationales of each character and group. Questions of morality and societal responsibility are raised as the book skates along the difficult issues of overpopulation and disease. His plot twists keep the story moving, and not always in the direction you think it is going. I found myself racing through the pages, eager to find out what happens next.

The book is available as an ebook through Amazon’s digital services and for a price so low that it was an easy decision to take a chance on an unknown author. I’m glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

[NOTE: I periodically do reviews of some of the books I’m reading. This fiction book has a nice science aspect to it that I found fascinating. Click and scroll down for other book reviews.]

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review – Archaea by Sam Hawksworth

  1. Archaea usually live in extreme, often very hot or salty environments, such as hot & mineral springs, or deep-sea hydrothermal vents, some are also found in animal digestive systems. Beware of those mineral hot springs, ocean swimming, and animal faeces archaebacterium are everywhere.

    • Thanks for the additional information. Most people have probably never heard of archaea, which makes for a fascinating basis for the book’s story line.

        • Bio major here. Both my brother and I went into the sciences. I have to admit I prefer ecology of things I can see – fish, crustacea, jellyfish (okay, sea jellies) – rather than single celled stuff. I thought the science in the book was well presented, sciency without being overloaded with incomprehensible jargon.

          • This is a book which will be added to my ‘Must read’ list. I enjoy Science fiction with intelligent dialogue.

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