cover image Soul


Tobsha Learner, . . Forge, $14.95 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-2010-0

This combination period bodice-ripper and contemporary medical thriller asks if it is possible for a killer trait to be passed down generations. In 2002, Julia Huntington is a genetic researcher working to isolate the gene that turns a person into a killer. She and her husband, Klaus, are expecting their first child when Julia finds out that Klaus has fallen in love with her best friend, and her life goes into a tailspin. Julia's story alternates with that of her great-grandmother, Lavinia, a young Irishwoman married to an older amateur anthropologist, Col. James Huntington, who has his own secret. When revealed, it makes a shambles of Lavinia's life. Will nature dictate how vengefully these two women treat their erring husbands, or will nurture allow them to rise above their baser instincts? Learner (The Witch of Cologne ) details the science behind the question nicely, but underpowers the story's emotion and drama. (May)