Nelson Erlick

Forge Books

In gene therapy, the damaged or defective chromosomes of an individual patient are corrected by the addition of new genes introduced into the patient's DNA. This is a dangerous and controversial technique, on the cutting edge of medical science. "GermLine" gene therapy is even more radical. By altering the reproductive cells, the germ cells, of a single individual, you can forever change the genetic makeup of that person--and all of his or her future descendants!

But who should control such an awesome power? The government? The medical establishment? Or a hidden conspiracy of the rich and powerful?

Dr. Kevin Kincaid, a brilliant scientist whose life has been scarred by personal tragedy, is on the verge of a major breakthrough. After years of research and experimentation, he has developed a biological vector capable of introducing new genes into the germ cells of unborn children while they are still in their mothers' wombs. With this vector, doctors will be able to eradicate genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome for all generations to come.

But Kincaid's discovery also raises the specter of wholesale genetic engineering, of changing the very nature of humanity itself, which attracts the attention of dangerous forces, including a ruthless government agency, an international conspiracy of wealthy industrialists, and radical terrorists who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep Kincaid's breakthrough from transforming the world as we know it.

Soon the targeted scientist finds himself at the center of a covert war to control the future of human evolution. Betrayed and deceived by those closest to him, he can trust no one-not even a mysterious woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to his long-dead wife. . . .

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read an Excerpt

PART ONETHE FIRST COMPONENT--YEAR 6 OF THE PLAN1SUNDAYThe Loring EstateBerks County, Pennsylvania12:48 A.M. 
Beneath the spinning laser lights, in the midst of his ballroom crammed with guests dancing to the band's charged Latin beat, E. Dixon Loring stared up at the bearer of disaster who walked along the mezzanine. The courier, in turn, located Loring, the party's host: a robust man, six feet two inches tall with perfect posture, a thick shock of black hair, and strong, wide, chiseled features. The courier's eyes never wandered from Loring. Slowly, the courier descended the


Praise for GermLine

"Spellbinding! Just as in Gattica, the science is valid and not only could happen, but will happen if we as a society do not take steps to prevent it. This book is a must-read for anyone who thinks that our scientific advances in genetics will only be used to treat diseases. The issues are complex and this book deals with them from all sides. An outstanding read!"-W. French Anderson, M.D., Director, Gene Therapy Laboratories, "The Father of Gene Therapy"

"The double helix meets the double cross in GermLine. Erlick has found a way to bring his readers to the cusp of genetic research-its reality, its potential, and its inability to alter the fundamentals of human motivation and behavior. When he intends to be accurate about the state of genetic research, Erlick is, and he makes the field understandable to readers. When he plays with the future, Erlick does so deftly, weaving scientific fiction, character and plot. Much of the novel is set, evocatively, in Philadelphia, where advances in genetic research and missteps are the stuff of daily life. But science is the bonus of the book, and this novel should be read for its intrigue and suspense."-Jeffrey C. Lerner, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Center Director, AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center

"An electrifying read from beginning to end. Dr. Erlick successfully delivers a riveting story while dealing with some of the major medical-ethical issues we're looking at now and for the future. Bravo!"-Margaret Cary MD MBA MPH, Former Presidential appointee, Coauthor Telemedicine and Telehealth: Principles, Policies, Performance and Pitfall

"Erlick makes the promise-and the threat-of radical gene therapy eerily plausible. GermLine has been genetically engineered for maximum suspense and authenticity."-Greg Cox, New York Times bestselling author of The Eugenics Wars

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Nelson Erlick

  • Dr. Nelson Erlick is Senior Strategist for the Strategic Scientific Services division of a large, international medical communications firm. He is the senior scientific source for matters involving pharmacoeconomic (decision) analysis, statistics, and meta-analysis. A retired surgeon and award-winning researcher, Dr. Erlick lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.


Available Formats and Book Details


Nelson Erlick

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Forge Books