LITERARY REVIEW

Another Cook `faction'

AS narratives go, Robin Cook has written more compelling stuff. In Seizure, Cook may have spun a story "out of tomorrow's headlines" — so the publishers claim — but he stops short of hazarding a guess as to what the future holds in store for therapeutic cloning in the U.S. But, it is not just in the easy option that he exercises to wrap up the story that Cook disappoints this time round. Even the storyline is not half as gripping as his earlier medical thrillers.

The collision course that the debate in the U.S. on rapidly progressing bioscience — particularly therapeutic cloning — has taken provides the backdrop for Seizure. Chairing a subcommittee aimed at banning a new cloning technology, Senator Ashley Butler clashes with scientist Daniel Lowell in public. But, privately the Parkinson-afflicted senator wants the scientist to use his HTSR to treat him; the deal being that the Bill banning Lowell's technology would be kept in cold storage.

Though nowhere as thrilling as his earlier books, Cook as always raises some questions and makes out a case for freeing medical research from partisan politics.

His contention is that the U.S. Congress should set up a non-partisan standing commission like the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to ensure that politicians alone do not decide whether a new medical technique should be available to the general public.

Seizure, Robin Cook, Pan, �5.99.

ANITA JOSHUA

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