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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The COVID Legacy by Lance Haynes is a futuristic techno-thriller following the deaths of billions in the aftermath of a pandemic. Eugenics is in play with the remaining 800-million inhabitants of the earth where genetic modification and strict reproduction mandates are introduced in an effort to further reduce the planet's population to a goal of 500-million. Under the leadership of a United Nations authority, it appears that the epidemic, labeled the Dying Time, has had a positive impact, primarily for the third generation who were not yet born or old enough to have witnessed the pre-pandemic world. Instead, the planet they know of is in a state of social balance that is almost universally accepted even as families are separated and the new way of life is heavily regulated. Of this third generation is Brian Thorson, a man who descends from a lineage of service in the footsteps of his grandfather and father—whether deserved or not. When Brian begins to backtrack into his grandfather's history, the implications for Brian, his wife, and his friends, as well as the structure and deeds of the Authority, may just be more destructive than the disease itself.
There's no question that Lance Haynes has written a timely novel with the release of The COVID Legacy. Set sixty years from 2019, it seems almost prophetic given that the book was either written long before the very real, very current Covid-19 pandemic, or he was able to whip this story up in a few short weeks. If it's the latter then Haynes is something of a prolific genius because the work is exceptional, and the world-building of a post-epidemic society, as well as the conspiracy structure it is founded on, is fantastic. My favorite part is when Brian and his friend Ravi are rummaging through Brian's grandfather's house and discover a cache of booze. In their drunken state, they discuss their other findings in a scene that is authentic and human. From a technical standpoint, the book is formed by tight, clean writing and a strong narrative, with the exception of some small blips with word repetition. These don't inhibit the story whatsoever. Overall this is a wonderful work of fiction that will undoubtedly be embraced by the same audience that enjoys the likes of Kim Stanley Robinson, Emily St John, and Gore Vidal.