My husband and I went to an exhibit of Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel yesterday at the Christ Cathedral. His mastery of the human form was obvious in every brush stroke, but Michelangelo always identified himself as a sculptor not a painter. Kalian Gaines in Philip C. Quaintrell’s Intrinsic (The Terran Cycle Book 1) was a history professor and always thought of himself as human. Two very different characters, but if Michelangelo never took that paintbrush or if Kalian Gaines never tried to harness his powers – we would never know what one man can do to make a difference.
Michelangelo knew he was gifted. He had completed La Pieta and David, he was already a celebrated sculptor living in Rome. Kalian Gaines knew he was different. But he hid his abilities, fearing that when the military learns of them they will make him a lab rat.
Sculptor Turned Painter
No one wanted the job of painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. It was too high, and the re-plastering would take a lot of work. Michelangelo had already been commissioned by the pope to sculpt his tomb, a very prestigious project. The pope forced him to work on the chapel’s ceiling before he could work on his tomb. Michelangelo accepted the challenge.
Human Turned Terran
In Quaintrell’s novel, the Terrans are highly evolved humans. They had reached a point in their development where they did not need to know how to fight. So when another race waged war on them, they lost. Their Artificial Life Form populated the earth with a devolved form of Terran (humans) to save the race from becoming extinct. But it left a gene with the advanced abilities in the pool. Kalian Gaines had that gene, the advanced abilities manifested in him. When the same enemy that wiped out the Terrans threatened kill every human being alive – he agreed to evolve into a Terran to gain the power he needed to defend the human race.
What Can One Man Do?
The potential in every man knows no limits. A single man could have the will to paint a 60-foot-high ceiling for four and a half years. A work of art that still inspires humans almost five hundred years after his death. In Kalian’s story, he finds the will to evolve into the warrior he needs to be – in a matter of days instead of centuries. To fight for the survival of his species and the woman he loves. One man. Mere mortals. We have the power to do anything we set our minds to – and that’s what makes us special.
This is a very inspiring story and, to me, those are the best kinds of stories. I love the underlying theme throughout the book that asks, “Why me? Why am I special?” The author’s answer of the human potential was delivered quite brilliantly in my opinion. So if you love science fiction, first contact, or inspiring adventure stories – be sure to read this book.