fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy audiobook review Traci Harding Gene of IsisGene of Isis by Traci Harding

Traci Harding’s Gene of Isis, the first book in her MYSTIQUE trilogy, is about three related women in three different time periods who have descended from the Grail kings: Ashlee Granville, an independent young woman who is unhappy about being on the “marriage market” in 19th century England; Dr. Mia Montrose, Ashlee’s 21st century descendent who is an expert in ancient languages; and Lillet du Lac, a 13th century priestess who is fighting the Catholic Church. Each woman has clairvoyant talents and is drawn to a mountain that contains ancient mysteries and is the source of these women’s psychic gifts.

The first part of the book reads like one of those Regency romances where the enlightened (and in this case pagan) heroine wishes she was a man so she could pursue her real interests, but is instead stuck in a hell of petticoats, needlepoint, proper etiquette, and silly banter with shallow eligible bachelors. Yuck.

I stuck it out, though I was bored out of my mind, hoping that Gene of Isis would get better when we got to Mia’s story. But after Mia translates a cryptic message on an ancient tomb, the story quickly devolves into an alternative Christian history very similar to The Da Vinci Code — there’s a murder mystery, Mary Magdalene and Jesus were clandestinely married and had children, Jesus wasn’t actually crucified, there’s a secret order and an unknown Gospel of Mark, the communion bread and wine are really… well, never mind. I won’t give it all away, but when the heavily-foreshadowed vampire showed up, I’d had enough. I’ve seen this before, I didn’t enjoy it then, and since I was already bored with Gene of Isis and didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, I realized I was torturing myself for no reason. I quit after reading 35% of the book.

Gene of Isis is written well enough, and I’m sure there’s a willing audience for this story. It’s just not me. The reader of the audio version I listened to didn’t help. Edwina Wren has a pleasant voice, but when she read Ashlee’s POV (which was most of what I listened to), she sounded as bored and cynical as I felt. It wasn’t at all a bad performance, and was likely exactly what Traci Harding intended for the character. However, it just served to remind me that I was bored with Gene of Isis.

Mystique — (2005-2008) — Each of these can stand alone. From author’s website: Mia Montrose is a 21st-century Australian woman with a Doctorate in Ancient Languages who has just scored the most promising job of her career. When Mia experiences mysterious happenings and forces beyond her control, she begins to understand that history does not always stay in the past. Ashlee Granville is a 19th-century clairvoyant, forced to suppress her talents as she enters the marriage market of English upper-class society. But Ashlee is not a girl who likes to bow to the inevitable – she has plans of her own. Lillet du Lac is a 13th-century woman, priestess of an ancient order now protected by the Cathar faith, who are making their last stand against the Roman Catholic Franks at the giant hill fort of Montségur. As the castle falls, Lillet escapes with something more valuable than any of their lives… Despite the time, distance and cultures that separate them, these women share several things in common. They belong to an ancient bloodline of Grail kings, protected by a Sion knight named Albray, and they are each compelled to visit an ancient mountain in the Sinai. This mount contains the keys which may unlock a gateway to a dimension of light and the Gene of Isis.

Traci Harding Mystique 1. Gene of Isis 2. The Dragon Queen 3. The Black MadonnaTraci Harding Mystique 1. Gene of Isis 2. The Dragon Queen 3. The Black MadonnaTraci Harding Mystique 1. Gene of Isis 2. The Dragon Queen 3. The Black Madonnafantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.