Cover image for In his image : book one of the Christ clone trilogy
In his image : book one of the Christ clone trilogy
BeauSeigneur, James.
Personal Author:
[Second edition].
Publication Information:
Rockville, Md. : SelectiveHouse Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
369 pages ; 22 cm.
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Based on events surrounding efforts to authenticate the Shroud of Turin, BeauSeigneur takes readers on a brilliantly researched and vividly imagined journey to find whether a forbidden experiment will lead to the Triumph of Man--or the Wrath of God.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

BeauSeigneur's In His Image is the first installment of his Christ Clone trilogy, an End Times series that was all but privately published in the late 1990s but that developed a considerable underground following. This is mostly because BeauSeigneur knows how to write, deploying a tough, driving style in perfect cadence. He generates suspense by withholding details. Like a historian of the future, he goes out of his way to show every viewpoint. And, like Tom Clancy, BeauSeigneur throws in technical details about how systems and organizations operate, and since he was formerly a CIA operative, he's persuasive. In His Image begins as an almost scholarly account of scientific examinations of the shroud of Turin in the1970s, all to dissuade you of your disbelief for the cloning of Christopher Goodman from the blood of Christ. Christopher is a bright, lonely kid, entirely sympathetic. You will like this Antichrist. The odd events on the international scene have nothing to do with him, and what happens at the United Nations is entirely reasonable given the circumstances. The sequels are Birth of an Age (terrifying plagues, each given detailed, almost dispassionate, scientifically plausible explanations) and Acts of God (the reign of the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon). It's a shame BeauSeigneur had to wait so long for the kind of exposure publication by Warner Books will give him, but on the other hand, the paranoia he evokes is a perfect fit for these times of religious hatred and political terror. Callie Webber, of Clark's Don'st Take Any Wooden Nickels, is a young widow, an attorney with a job reminiscent of that old TV show, The Millionaire--delivering cash to people her boss, the mysterious "Tom," deems worthy. Through her church, she also works with battered women. Returning from one of her missions, she finds herself investigating the murder of ne'er-do-well Eddie Ray, the boyfriend of one of the women she has helped; simultaneously, when she is finally to meet "Tom," he disappears. Clark portrays Callie's loneliness and stoicism so ably that the effect is sometimes boring, but this is a well-done mystery otherwise. Cramer's Sutter's Cross tells the story of Harley, an itinerant, working-class fellow who shows up in the little town of Sutter's Cross, Georgia, and does good deeds. A Christ-figure, Harley is doomed to be misunderstood, but Jake Mahaffey, the point-of-view character with his own set of problems, comes to understand him, as does an old woman whose land is threatened by development. All of Cramer's characters are fully realized, and his love of the Appalachians comes shining through. This is a fine first novel. Kemp's Welcoming Door will remind readers of Joseph Girzone's rewrites of parables, except that Kemp makes a loose-jointed novel of the project and uses a New Testament setting. For instance, parables arise from the circumstances of young Jesus the carpenter's work. Alternatively, the reader follows the prodigal son as he gives up his patrimony, opting instead for the exciting life of the city. It's a smooth, clever approach. The Lost Letters of Pergamum is another unique attempt at biblical fiction. Longenecker conjures an epistolary relationship between Luke and a figure from Revelation about whom little is known: Antipas. A loyal Roman, Antipas is converted to Christianity through Luke's letters and becomes a martyr. The story's greatest charm, however, may be its careful scholarship on all things Roman, making it of great appeal to those amateur scholars who read Josephus and love to draw lessons from the Roman Empire. Lund finishes his epic Kingdom and the Crown series with Behold the Man, following Fishers of Men (2000) and Come unto Me (2001). (Lund, a Mormon, is also the author of a nine-volume historical fiction series about the Mormon Church called The Work and the Glory.) Characters from the first two volumes, concerned with Roman oppression and Zealot rebellion, appear also in the conclusion, which is the story of the final days of Jesus' ministry, his trial and crucifixion, and his resurrection. The Kingdom and the Crown lacks the passion of The Robe and the complexity of Quo Vadis, but despite its monumental length, it zips right along. With Brock and Bodie Thoene's ongoing Zion Legacy series, it belongs in public libraries everywhere. The indefatigable Morris, who has tackled everything from westerns to science fiction, tries his hand at biblical fiction in the first installment of Lions of Judah, a series featuring the lineage of Christ. Heart of a Lion begins with a lively account of Noah's boyhood, when he struggled with his feelings for a young woman who worships Baal. Eventually, after conquering a number of demons, Noah settles upon a monastic carpenter's life while he awaits directions from the Ancient One. The gathering of animals and the Great Flood could hardly fail to be entertaining, and they are, though it's hard not to recall John Huston's rather more earthy rendition of Noah in The Bible. Can Christians kill in the name of righteousness? Cynics might answer, throughout history. Still, it's a great question, and in Operation Firebrand, Scott offers for our inspection Jason Kromer, a SEAL sniper who leaves the navy because he has undergone a conversion and is unsure about his secular calling. He becomes the leader of a sort of Christian A-Team, which will soon undertake a mission to Kazakhstan to rescue orphans using nonlethal weapons. The high-tech weapons are entertaining, but the plot is preposterous, and somehow Scott never evokes from Jason the believability of a Sergeant York. Of course, The Guns of Navarone wasn't believable, either, so perhaps what's truly wrong here is Scott's blind faith in the prowess of the military.

Publisher's Weekly Review

BeauSeigneur awkwardly mixes religion, geopolitics and preposterous plot twists in this apocalyptic debut thriller, the first volume in his planned Christ Clone trilogy. Dreaming of journalistic stardom, Tennessee newspaperman Decker Hawthorne joins an expedition organized by his former professor, Henry Goodman, to unearth the legendary Shroud of Turin. Carbon dating exposes the discovered shroud as an impostor, but the plot thickens when Hawthorne runs into Goodman again several years later. Goodman reveals that the shroud was authentic after all, and that he has used DNA from it to clone Jesus Christ-his new "adopted" son, Christopher. Hawthorne promises to follow up with Goodman right after an upcoming assignment in Israel. But while there, he's kidnapped by Palestinians and held for more than a decade, a bizarre plot development whose only purpose is to give Christopher time to grow up. Upon release, Hawthorne, learning that Goodman has been killed in a car accident, becomes Christopher's guardian. Then Tel Aviv is nuked. Did the Russians do it in an attempt to bring Israel to its knees? Or did the Israeli government do it themselves to foment hatred against a bitter enemy? More importantly, where has the author been since the fall of the Soviet Union? Tensions escalate, World War III looms and Christopher grows up to become a charismatic diplomat. The story doesn't resolve so much as simply stop. In an "Important Note from the Author," BeauSeigneur warns his audience to read the entire trilogy before judging. From the looks of this rickety first volume, that's going to be a tall order. (Jan. 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



The Right Place at the Right Time Two decades ago Knoxville, Tennessee DECKER HAWTHORNE He typed out the letters of his name and his hands paused on the keys. Quickly his eyes scanned the editorial for one last reassurance that he hadn't misspelled something, or that he couldn't say something just a little more convincingly, or perhaps improve the sentence structure. Finally he decided it would have to do. The deadline had passed, the newspaper was waiting to be put to bed, and Decker had a plane to catch. As he left the offices of the Knoxville Enterprise , he stopped to straighten the hand-lettered placard that hung outside the door. It was a weekly paper, small by most standards, but it was growing. Decker had started the paper with a short supply of money and an abundance of naïveté, and it was still a struggle to survive financially. The upside was that with Decker's aggressive style, the Enterprise frequently scooped the two local dailies, including once with a story of national significance. Decker had always been an overachiever who wasn't afraid to take chances, and while he lost more often than he won, he liked to believe he had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Right now he was supposed to be at the airport, but he wasn't. "You're going to miss your plane," called Elizabeth, Decker's wife. "I'm coming," he called back. "Start the car." "It's already running. I know you too well." They made it to the gate with three minutes to spare, but Decker didn't want to waste one second sitting on the plane when he could spend it with Elizabeth. After only three months of marriage, he wasn't looking forward to being away from his bride for two weeks, but finally he had to board the plane or be left behind. As the plane left the runway, Decker looked out over the city of Alcoa on the southern outskirts of Knoxville. Below, he could pick out his small house on the edge of one of Alcoa's parks. The steadily receding sight recalled disquieting emotions. Decker had spent most of his life traveling. As a boy it was with his family, moving from one army post to another. After that he had spent a year and a half hitchhiking across the United States and Canada; then four years in the army. Partly he felt cheated: He had never really had a home. But partly he felt blessed. Decker hated leaving, but he loved going. Decker's flight arrived late into New York and he had to run to make his connecting flight to Milan, Italy. Nearing the gate, he looked for a familiar face but saw none. In fact, at first glance, there was no one at the gate at all. Decker looked out the window. There was the plane, but at that instant he heard the jet engines begin to whine. Thundering down the red-carpeted incline of the jetway, he almost collided with a ticket agent. "I've got to get on that plane!" he told the woman, as he put on the sweetest "help me" look he could muster. "You have your passport?" she asked. "Right here," Decker answered, handing it to her along with his ticket. "What about your luggage?" "This is it," he answered, holding up an overstuffed and somewhat oversized carry-on bag. The plane had not actually moved yet, so after notifying the pilot, it was an easy task to move the jetway back into place. After a quick but heartfelt thank you, Decker boarded the plane and headed to his seat. Now he saw a sea of friendly and familiar faces. On his right was John Jackson, the team's leader. A few seats back was Eric Jumper. Both were from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Jackson had his Ph.D. in physics and had worked extensively on lasers and particle beams. Jumper, also a Ph.D., was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics, aerodynamics, and heat exchange. In fact, almost everyone in this sea of faces had a Ph.D. of one sort or another. Altogether there were more than forty scientists, technicians, and support people. Though he knew most only by sight, many paused long enough from their conversations to offer a smile of welcome or to say they were glad he had not missed the flight. Decker found his seat and sat down. There to greet him was Professor Harry Goodman, a sloppily dressed, short man with gray hair, reading glasses half-way down his nose, and thick bushy eyebrows that blazed helter-skelter across his brow and up onto his forehead like a brush fire. "I was beginning to think you'd stood me up," Professor Goodman said. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Decker answered. "I just wanted to make a big entrance." Professor Goodman was Decker's link to the rest of the team. Goodman had taught biochemistry at the University of Tennessee when Decker was in pre-med. During his sophomore year Decker had worked as Goodman's research assistant. They had many conversations, and though Goodman was not the type to get very close to anyone, Decker felt they were friends. Later that same year, though, Goodman had grown very depressed about something he refused to discuss. Through the rumor mill Decker discovered that Goodman was going to be refused tenure. Primarily this could be traced to his policy of "Do now, ask permission later," which had gotten him into hot water with the dean on more than one occasion. The next semester Goodman took a position at UCLA and Decker had not seen him since. Decker, for unrelated reasons, had changed his major from pre-med to journalism. He was still an avid reader of some of the better science journals, however. So it was that Decker read an article in Science magazine1 about a team of American scientists going to examine the Shroud of Turin, a religious relic believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. He had heard of the Shroud but had always dismissed it as just another example of religious fraud designed to pick the pockets of gullible worshipers. But here was an article in one of the most widely read science journals reporting that credible American scientists were actually taking their time to examine this thing. At first the article had aroused only amused disbelief, but among the list of the scientists involved, Decker found the name Dr. Harold Goodman. This made no sense at all. Goodman, as Decker knew from his frequent pronouncements, was an atheist. Well, not exactly an atheist. Goodman liked to talk about the uncertainty of everything. In his office at the university were two posters. The first was crudely hand-printed and stated: "Goodman's First Law of Achievement: The shortest distance between any two points is around the rules" (a philosophy which obviously had not set well with the dean). The second poster was done in a late 1960s-style psychedelic print and said: "I think, therefore, I am. I think." Mixing the uncertainty of his own existence with his disbelief in God, Goodman had settled on referring to himself as "an atheist by inclination but an agnostic by practice." So why was a man like Goodman going off on some ridiculous expedition to study the Shroud of Turin? Decker filed the information away in his memory and probably would have left it there had it not been for a phone call from an old friend, Tom Donafin. Tom was a reporter for the Courier in Waltham, Massachusetts, and had called about a story he was working on about corruption in banking-something that Knoxville had plenty of at that time. After discussing the banking story Tom asked Decker if he had seen the article in Science. "Yeah, I saw it," Decker answered. "Why?" "I just thought you'd be interested in what old Bushy Brows was up to," Tom laughed. "Are you sure it's him? I didn't see him in any of the pictures." "At first I didn't think it was possible, but I did a little checking, and it's him." "You know," Decker said, thinking out loud, "there might be a story here. Religion sells." "If you mean covering the expedition, I think you're right, but security is really tight. I tried to dig into the particulars a little, but hit a brick wall. They're limiting coverage of the expedition to one reporter: a guy from the National Geographic ." "That sounds like a challenge to me," Decker said. "Oh, I'm not saying it can't be done, but it won't be easy." Decker began to muse how he might, if he wanted to, go about getting the story. He could take the direct approach of trying to reason with whoever was making the rules. After all, why should they have only one journalist? On the other hand, what possible reason could he give to convince them to take someone from a tiny unknown weekly in Knoxville, Tennessee? Clearly, his best bet was to work through Goodman. Over the next three weeks Decker made several attempts to reach his old professor, but without success. Goodman was doing research somewhere in Japan and even his wife, Martha, wasn't sure exactly where he was. With little to depend on beyond luck and determination, Decker arranged to fly to Norwich, Connecticut, and booked a room in the hotel where the Shroud team was scheduled to meet over the Labor Day weekend. He arrived the day before to look things over. The next morning Decker found that a private dining room in the hotel had been prepared for about fifty people. Checking with one of the waiters, he quickly confirmed that this was where the Shroud team was meeting. A few minutes later the first of the team members walked into the room. The eyebrows were unmistakable. "Professor Goodman," Decker said, as he approached Goodman and extended his right hand. Goodman looked puzzled. "It's Hawthorne," Decker offered. It was obvious that Goodman was struggling to place the face. "From the University of Tennessee," he added. A gleam of recognition began to show in the pale green eyes beneath the massive clumps of hair. "Oh, yes, Hawthorne! Well, how the heck are you? What are you doing here in Connecticut?" Before Decker could answer, another person entered the room and called out, "Harry Goodman!" and came over to where they were standing. "So, where were you last night? I called your room, hoping to have dinner with you." Goodman did not respond but proceeded instead to formal introductions. "Professor Don Stanley, allow me to introduce Decker Hawthorne, a former student and research assistant of mine from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville." Professor Stanley shook Decker's hand, gave him a quick onceover, and then looked back at Goodman. "So Hawthorne here must be the research assistant that I heard you'd suckered into helping out. What a shame," Stanley added, pausing and looking back at Decker, "I'd have thought you looked too intelligent for that." "He is," responded Goodman, "and, unfortunately, so is the young man you're referring to." "Oh, so he jumped ship on you, did he?" responded Stanley with a chuckle. "Well, after all," Goodman shrugged, "it is quite a lot to expect a young man to pay the cost of an airline ticket to Turin, Italy, just to go on a wild goose chase." Decker let none of this escape his attention. The possibility of replacing the missing research assistant provided a much better chance of getting onto the team than did the direct approach of getting the team to accept a second reporter. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the right opening. "If you're so sure it's a goose chase, why do you insist on going along?" Stanley asked. "Somebody's got to keep the rest of you honest," Goodman said, with a grin. By now several other members of the team had filed into the dining room and were gathering in small groups for conversation. One of the men caught Professor Stanley's attention and Stanley walked over to greet the new arrival. Decker seized the opportunity to question Professor Goodman further about the missing assistant. "What is it exactly that your research assistant was going to do on this trip?" Decker asked. "Oh, everything from collection of data to general gofer work. We've got hundreds of different experiments planned and we may have as little as twelve hours to do them all. It's the kind of environment where an extra pair of trained hands can be very helpful." "I don't suppose you'd be interested in a substitute?" Decker asked. He was counting on the fact that Goodman didn't know he had switched his major from pre-med to journalism after Goodman left the University of Tennessee. Decker felt a twinge of guilt, but this certainly wasn't the biggest omission of fact he had ever used to get a story. Besides, he was pretty sure he remembered enough to get by. And he could certainly qualify as a gofer. "What?" Goodman responded. "After I just told Professor Stanley you were too smart for such a thing?" "Really, I'd like to go," Decker insisted. "Actually, that's why I came here. I may be a little rusty, but I read the article in Science and I've got experience with most of the equipment you'll be using." "What you read was just the beginning." Goodman paused long enough to frown and then continued, "Well, I'm not going to refuse help, but you know that you have to pay your own way: airfare, hotel, food, transportation?" "Yeah, I know," Decker answered. "But why?" asked Goodman. "You haven't gone and gotten religion, have you?" "No, nothing like that. It just sounds like an interesting project." Decker realized it wasn't a very convincing answer, so he turned the question around. "Why are you going?" he asked. "You don't believe in any of this stuff." "Of course not! I just want a chance to debunk this whole thing." Decker refocused the conversation. "So, can I come along or not?" "Yeah, well, I guess so; if you're sure about it. I'll just need to talk to Eric," he said, referring to one of the team's de facto leaders, Eric Jumper. "We'll have to get your name added to the list of team members. The security on this thing is really tight." So, just that quickly, Decker was in. "The right place at the right time," he whispered to himself. It would take forty-eight years for him to realize it had been far more than that. After breakfast the team moved to a conference room. Decker stayed close to Goodman so that as they passed through the security check, Goodman could make sure Decker's name was added to the list of those allowed in. Inside, team leader John Jackson called the meeting to order. "In order to get approval to work on the Shroud," Jackson began, "we've had to promise the authorities in Turin that we would maintain the strictest security. Obviously, our biggest problem is going to be the press." Decker struggled not to smile. "The best approach is simply not to even talk about the Shroud to anyone who's not on the team. As far as anyone outside of this room is concerned, we're still waiting for permission to do the testing." Eric Jumper took the floor when Jackson finished. "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming. It's really a thrill to have a chance to be associated with such a distinguished group of scientists. Continues... Excerpted from In His Image by James BeauSeigneur Copyright © 2003 by James BeauSeigneur Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.