I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Unbegotten by John Creasey
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
on November 24, 2012
Source: my own shelves
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Thirtieth in the Dr. Palfrey science fiction-thriller series and revolving around Dr Sap Palfrey and Z5. The focus is on that unChristian pill, the demon contraceptive.
It’s an interesting exploration of the introduction of the pill as a planned contraceptive. The freedom from looming pregnancy to the licentiousness of free sex. Only, in The Unbegotten, even couples in the very orthodox Catholic Church aren’t getting pregnant!
It’s certainly an interesting look in on men and women and their stances on having babies. Wow. That Belinda is whacko!
Creasey uses a third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Palfrey’s and Maddern’s perspectives, and yet, while we learn what’s in their thoughts, it doesn’t preclude hearing what Susie has to say about her people’s perspectives regarding religion, sex, having babies, families — and it all serves to make me glad we’re who we are! Their “future”? sounds hideous with no emotions, no pleasures. Ick. Besides, what I want to know is why does the Master get to decide to change things now? Wouldn’t it affect the future? His future? Who are they to decide what everyone else is to have? Their choosing who lives or dies is so wrong. How can they not see that?
The Master does make good points about babies and children who are abused, but I sure don’t think his way is the way to go. I also want to know just when this world was created and how they had the time to make this sort of progress.
Maddern is a passionate man and doesn’t care who knows it. I do have to wonder why Palfrey decides this makes him a good guy to utilize.
The tragedies occurring here — and in a few other places — appear to be limited — until communication gets revved up. Typical that Russians didn’t tell anyone for fear they were suspected of being anti-government. There’s something to be said for a free press! The limitations certainly do make it appear planned.
Ya can’t really blame people for reacting as they do — it’s right out of Jules Verne or H.G. Wells! Creasey certainly does drop some nasty possibilities on the earth. And Maddern and Palfrey both respond with courage and determination.
There is a weird bit where Palfrey tells Ron to look after Maddern . . . and Maddern goes off with Joyce.
It’s a combination of action and characters, as Palfrey struggles to discover the source of the sabotaging, to understand the rationale behind it, and somehow save the earth. There’s a 1950s sci-fi vibe to this, even though it was published in 1971.
The human race is experiencing a slow death — no more babies are being born. Slowly, too slowly, the doctors in the affected areas are beginning to notice and finally communicate to authorities.
It’ll take an unexpected partnership between Dr Palfrey and a local doctor to discover the truth — the plans of a megalomaniac who calls himself The Master.
Dr Stanislaus Alexander “Sap” Palfrey, seen when there is a national or international crisis, is the head of Z5, an international espionage organization that serves the world. Joyce Morgan is Palfrey’s personal assistant and having a non-physical affair with him. Stefan Andromovitch, Palfrey’s oldest friend, is second-in-command of Z5 and is based in Moscow. Cossokov is a vice-chairman of the Presidium. Vassilov.
Mr Brody, Childers, and James Arthur Smith are Special Branch, CID with Scotland Yard. Ron Wordsworth is another agent.
The touchy Dr Reginald “Reggie” Maddern is the doctor who has served the villages for over twenty years and lives in Hallows End. Lilian is his 10-years-deceased wife. Bertha Witherspoon is his housekeeper who was widowed three years ago.
Maggie Cray is the experienced midwife who doesn’t hold back. Other doctors in the area include the hysterical Dr Simister; Sir Gerald Daley, who is a gynaecologist in the West County and a Harley Street consultant; Dr Henshaw, who is an ear, nose, and throat consultant; Dr Kennedy; Dr George Plumley (he’s a sci-fi addict); Dr Mary Dexter; Dr Dai Rees; Dr Smith, who is the local gynaecologist and obstetrician; and, Dr Bob Smith, who uses his commonsense. Jeff Ockley is the head porter at the hospital. Dr Congleton is the local psychiatrist.
Jane Gunnison has had the last baby, their third, in the district; Michael Gunnison, a farm hand, is her husband. Torrent Farm has been in the Torrent family for three hundred years. Guy Compton is an insurance company rep; he’s been married for three years to the baby-hungry Belinda. Her family, the Blandings, have never had a problem having children. Belinda’s sister, Doris, has a three-months-old son. Hugh‘s wife is furious that they can’t ever have children. Mrs Duyman is neurotic. Josiah Davenport mostly just wants to chat. Eric Dale is a good journalist with the Middlecombe Echo.
The Middlecombe PD is the local headquarters for the Corneshire County Constabulary where King is the chief superintendent. Benjamin Cobb is the borough engineer. George Gregory is the medical officer in charge of the Department of Health in Middlecombe Rural District Council. Charlie is in gas. Miss Heather is Transport.
Sir Douglas Hartwell is the prime minister. Maddison Keys is the Home Secretary. The South West News Agency hasn’t a clue. Kerr is the American ambassador in London.
Dr Lal Singh has worked for years to improve the lot of the people in Kelepur; he has also promoted contraception, which enabled the people to grow healthier and wealthier.
Nega is . . .
. . . the master planet that controls numerous satellites and where the Master leads this “alien” world. Susie, a.k.a. Azran, is a beautiful woman? girl? who can turn vicious on a dime.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a black background with the author’s name in white at the top left. The title is below that with the series info below that, both in red. In the lower right is a “bowl” of turquoise energy waves cradling the earth with a bigger, more transparent planet behind it. Above it is another globe in a transparent turquoise shell with turquoise, purple, and orange rays inside it. It also appears to be cupped in a transparent purple funnel.
The title is the threat that faces earth: The Unbegotten.