The Experiment by John Darnton was originally published in 1999. My hardcover copy has 422 pages. Darnton is a skilled writer, which I'm sure helped facilitate my enjoyment of The Experiment even though the main storyline held no real surprises. There were a few plot twists and more than enough character development to hold my attention. Darnton provided enough information interspersed with action to make this a highly recommended novel. I will be looking for more of Darnton's novels. Highly Recommended
Synopsis from cover
New York, at century's end; A mutilated body has been found, its face and fingerprints removed, a coin-sized circle carved into its upper thigh. On a remote island off the Southeast coast, a young man is running from a place he cannot survive, toward a world he cannot comprehend. And in the echoing canyons of Manhattan, another young man - a journalist - is moving closer to the truth about his own past, and to an encounter that will alter everything he has ever believed about himself.For thirty years a colony with its own laws, values, and complex living systems has been growing. Covertly supplied with the latest technology and DNA materials, its leaders carefully monitor their human trials and conceal the inhabitants from the outside world. Now someone has escaped. When Jude finds him cowering in the shadows of his apartment hallway, he will understand why this ragged stranger who calls himself Skyler is so frightened.They share the same face.Now Jude and Skyler are running together - bound by a new, secret science - hunted by unknown pursuers as they search for the mystery of their birth. Aided by a doctor with her own dangerous secret, they flee across the country, drawing nearer to a conspiracy at the very heart of America's power structure...survivors of an experiment that has gone tragically, irreversibly wrong.
"Skyler and Julia crept to the basement door of the Big House and looked around to make sure they weren't being watched." opening sentence
""They had no plan, really, other than to break into the Records Room and search for clues to explain what had happened to Patrick." pg. 1
"The chest was gone. In it's place was a cavity, sliced open, neat as a gutted fish." pg. 4
" 'Patrick's not the first to die.... and he's not the first to be called in for a special physical. Why don't they ever discover something during the regular physical?'
'I don't know. Sometimes they do.'
'But not always. And that makes it seem like they know something's wrong beforehand - don't you see?' " pg. 5
"Jimminies, the children were called, though where the word came from or what it signified, they were never told. They were all about the same age, a year or two different, no more. So they were especially close.
Growing up in the Lab, they felt secure and content. Neither Skyler nor any of the others had ever really questioned not having parents, even though they knew that children on the mainland - 'the other side,' it was called - possessed them." pg. 6
" 'He stuck a knife in at an angle and spun it in a circle, like extracting an oyster.'
Jude wished he would dispense with the culinary metaphors.
'Maybe there was a birthmark there, or a scar, or some identifying feature.' " pg. 39