Science and faith come together in 'Wine Red'

There is nothing better than a riveting story about titanic battles between the forces of good and evil. Throw in some social commentary, historic reflections, struggles of faith and conscience, a Brave New World of science gone mad, and a dash of romance. The result is a truer-than-fiction peek into a frightening future that is headed our way"" unless we take a stand with the forces of good.

Shendoah Valley author George Duncan doesn't go so far as to say that America is on its last legs, but in his science fiction novel, "A Wine Red Silence," he describes a society that is rapidly becoming balkanized and secular. Ethnic groups have fled into their own ghettos, humans are splitting into elitist genetically-enriched classes set apart from the average folks.

Private detective Jerico Drake needs all of his genetic enrichment, however, because he has a robotic assassin that is programmed to kill him. He has other enemies as well because of his investigation into a tragic death for an attractive young Christian client named Lori Hollendorf. As the plot unfolds, she exerts a warm and enchanting influence on his battle-hardened heart and crusty exterior.

As in his earlier novel, author George Duncan pierces the curtain of scientific deception to expose its dark side. Science without ethics produces morality without boundaries, robots without a conscience, and ultimately, life without meaning. As Lori observed, if left to his own devices and man could create something akin to life, what would he create? "Something evil."

Duncan is a bold and and talented writer. In one scene, Lori's "sparkling eyes dimmed, the golden vibrancy of youth changing to the grim gray of human experience" Without being preachy, the author warns that rejecting Godly values could lead an ethically challenged society to create soulless, robotic killers like those in his book. That is why we need heroes like Drake, who "believes in good and evil, that wrong should be righted, and that justice should be done."

Along the way, Duncan also takes delightful digs at society and at the future weak men who live in artificial worlds of hedonistic holograms because their egos can't handle real women. He blasts the "If it feels good, do it." culture of the 1960's for the devastating impact it has had on America &

as personified by the evil villain of the story, Munson Cain.

This is a very good science fiction thriller that entertains and challenges at the same time. As described by Duncan, the future seems, if not inevitable, at least plausible &

at times fascinating and at times chilling. But he also offers hope: good wins out over evil, and warm tears spot the last page, and that is the beauty of "A Wine Red Silence."

is retired after 26 years with the Senior Foreign Service, specializing in East Asia. He is also a former Congressional Fellow and graduate of the National Defense University.

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