The Other Tree
© 2013 D.K. Mok
The publisher sent me the download of this book through NetGalley.
D.K. Mok's The Other Tree is a quest novel that follows the predictable format of someone out to find something that seems to be impossible to find. The main protagonist Chris Arlin , is a cryptobotanist, which gives her an academic interest in finding "the other tree." What is this other tree? Well, most folks are familiar with the tree in the Garden of Eden that produce the apple that sent man into exile from paradise. But there is another tree; the tree of life that has fruit that can give immortality. This tree is thought to still be in Eden--if Eden can be found.
Chris has another interest in finding this other tree. It seems her father is dying of cancer, and she hopes that by finding this tree something can be produced that would help keep him and others like him alive. The mega-million dollar company SinaCorp is also looking for the tree. In fact, Chris's mother had been on the SinaCorp team Eden One, and had died during the quest. Chris blames SinaCorp for her death, and dislikes the materialistic posture SinaCorp presents. Although Chris is approached to join SinaCorp's Eden Two, she refuses.
So now we have the race between the evil SinaCorp, and the altruistic Chris. Chris solicits the help of Luke, a disgruntled priest (whose was named not for the biblical Luke, but for Luke Skywalker). In the manner of most quest stories, Chris and Luke travel to different continents, suffer through a variety of adverse environments, and must get out of perilous situations by ingenious methods. Chris's cryptobotanist background often helps them avoid calamity.
The many characters in The Other Tree include the highly-skilled and deadly SinaCorp people; their single-minded, heartless leader, Marrick; a group of militants who want to stop anyone from finding Eden; and a plethora of subsidiaries who keep the story moving. Most of them are very well drawn, with crisp dialogue. The action is nonstop.
There are a few tongue-in-cheek occurrences, such as Chris being asked for car keys at the end of the book, which she miraculously still has after being chased, nearly burned alive, and tossed around in various horrible manners; but she has the keys. The few attempts at philosophic contemplation are a bit sophomoric, but The Other Tree is well written and moves along briskly. A decent addition to this genre.