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No one disagrees with the goal of using genetic engineering to offset negative characteristics, such as diabetes or cancer. But what about enhancing positive characteristics, like intelligence, strength, or beauty? What about slowing or even eliminating the aging process?
To answer these questions once and for all, an international commission creates six human beings with enhanced intelligence. “The Six” study the world’s wisdom literature, religion, and philosophy. Along the way, they discover that with their enhanced intelligence they can quietly influence world events for the better (except that some of their experiments have disastrous consequences). They become addicted to their power, and decide that they don’t want to share it.
Maria Blair, the daughter of one of the enhanced couples, has been enhanced herself. She doesn’t like the way she has turned out: she is too tall, too dark, too smart. Instead of God or fate, she has only her parents to blame, and like any normal enhanced teenager, she plots to kill them. But she backs off at the last minute.
To her horror, Maria’s parents die the death she had imagined for them. Her quest to discover the murderer—and to find out what her parents and the other four were really up to—takes her to India, Hong Kong, and Geneva. Along the way she falls in love with Cameron Taylor, a college student. Together they program a computer to reverse-engineer a human brain and create a true artificial intelligence, Aida. When Maria becomes too close to discovering the truth about the Six, she is imprisoned in Bavaria. Cameron, with Aida’s help, manages to find her, and they make a harrowing escape. In the end, we discover the real killer of Maria’s parents, and Maria is stunned with a revelation about her own genetic history.