He could not die. He remained, even as they ate into his half-buried torso. Dropping into the surrounding sea of leaves, burrowing and pulsing, tunnelling through his flesh and gnawing his bones; they made a home. He’d been aware of them throughout the long winter, but now the air was warmer and his senses were awakening. Perhaps he could hide from the plump overfed bodies. He wanted to go home.

He struggled to raise his mud-caked arm. Silver-dewed cobwebs strained and snapped, releasing sparks of water. Sodden earth clung to his elbow forming a gnarly branch. Trailing ivy, fed by leaching nutrients, tied the limb to the ground. He fought the binding weed until he collapsed, exhausted. Once more his arm settled back into the leaf mould as if it had never moved.

But on this day his thoughts came quickly and fluidly. Weeping joints and dead muscles warmed by sunshine filtering through the canopy oiled his movements. Finally he was free of the binding roots. He emerged like a fly from its chrysalis, unfolded his body, crease-by-crease, joint-by-joint, and willed each sinew to do his bidding. At last he stood.

 William Knight. Generation (Kindle Locations 36-44).


Less than two-hundred years ago we did not know what DNA was. Less than one-hundred years ago we started to understand what it was made of and what it looked like. Nearly sixty years ago we figured out what it did. Twenty years later the first organisms were genetically modified by scientists. Less than twenty years ago, genetic modification was used in our medicines, and within the last five years gene therapy has become a staple of modern medicine. It has never really been a question of if genetic manipulation will be used on humans, but when.

William Knight’s new book, Generation, takes a look at the very real possibility of a drug company’s foray into genetic manipulation and the unforeseen consequences of their actions. The story follows the investigation of freelance reporter, Hendrix Harrison. He’s a man living on the edge of his career and his sanity, and when he stumbles into the story of a lifetime, both will be tested. With the help of computer genius with an interest in conspiracies and forensic entomoligist who can’t explain why her readings are so out of line, he will discover the dark side of the quest for immortality.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in fact, I absolutely devoured it.  I would not call the book fast paced, but it is compelling and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The main characters are interesting and extremely human for all of their flaws and misunderstandings, especially Hendrix (Aitch, as he is known by his friends), who hates his cell phone and refuses to use twitter even though it could cost him his job.

The book is a fresh take on the classic zombie tales, and breaks completely away from the mold in a way that zombie lovers will still find compelling. Most of the story takes place in Northumberland, England, and is filled with local detail and color that leaves the reader feeling like they could be right there where the action is.

If I have a problem with the book, it is that Generation is supposed to be a horror novel. While the ideas promoted in the book are terrifying to comprehend, the book itself lacks the qualities of a classic horror novel. The first half of the novel is filled with the setup. The reader learns about the characters and gets an idea of what is going on, but there is little in the way of true suspense, so nothing to keep the reader on edge. The second half of the book is filled with action, the unveiling of conspiracies, violence, and murder: all the makings of tremendous thriller, but still, nothing that brings to mind horror. Don’t misunderstand me. I think the book is excellent and I highly recommend it, but I would not call it a horror.





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Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes: Get Generation on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – you know you want to! And please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a $50 Amazon gift card. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Generation blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom. Be sure to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Generation : ENTER HERE. William Knight is a British born journalist and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s chased a varying career starting in acting, progressing to music, enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology where he’s been since 1989. In 2003 he published his first feature in Computing magazine and has since written about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. He continues to maintain a lively IT consultancy. Connect with William on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Generation

  1. Emlyn Chand

    Fantastic review, Eric. I love how yours always include a discussion of the genre. That really makes this special 😉

    When you have a moment would you kindly cross-post to Amazon & GoodReads? Thanks so much for being a part of this tour!


    1. Eric Swett

      I’m glad you like the review. I try to do a little more than just spout out my opinion.

  2. Lei

    The book cover is “horror” enough. 😛

    1. Eric Swett

      I’ll agree with you there. It is certainly one of the more unsettling covers I’ve seen recently.

  3. Ritesh Kala

    I was told that the book is in the horror genre, and I did not bother to look up the book blurb on Amazon. Big mistake. The blurb explains it better, but when expectations are already set, it is hard to let go. I too felt that the horror part was underplayed and the potential for it was not explored completely.
    This may just be my expectations whereas the author may actually have wanted to write a great thriller, in which I think he mostly succeeded.

    1. Eric Swett

      I agree. It is a pretty good thriller, though I would have liked a little more intensity early on.

  4. William Knight

    Thanks Eric for the great review. “Thriller steak with a horror garnish” is one of my favourite descriptions of the book — by some better writer than me!

    1. Eric Swett

      I am glad you liked it. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

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