Behind Shadow of Eden


Shadow of Eden is a story that had to be told for several reasons. First, is drug safety. We should have confidence in the drugs prescribed by our doctors. The FDA is supposed to watch over drug safety. Yet there are mistakes. During my research career, I have inside information on several drug recalls. When one in particular was announced, we were still doing research on it. I had to call each of my study participants and tell them that the drug was being recalled. On one of those phone calls, I spoke to the wife. Her husband, who had been enrolled in the study, had died the previous week of precisely the condition that triggered the recall. There is real danger in drugs, in sloppy science and in pushing the limits of what is safe.

While I know some of the individuals involved in this drug’s decision making process, and I know them to be thoughtful, decent people, drug safety nevertheless is abstract. The safety exercise becomes a balance of the benefit of a drug against its potential to do harm. How difficult indeed is it to make these decisions! Now let’s add money into the mix and the decision becomes harder still…

SHADOW OF EDEN, in my mind is my story, told from the front lines of drug research and drug prescribing. I have looked at the dangers of drugs and drug research at eye level, held the hands of those affected by real damage from the drugs, yet I have also seen the amazing good that can be achieved by a new and beneficial drug. For my novel, I felt the real life consequences of ethical lapses could form the nucleus of a story that could be interesting, entertaining and informative at the same time. Didn’t Michael Crichton spend much of his career calling out the consequences of unchecked scientific hubris?

But Shadow of Eden is not a story just about a drug and its side effect, but also how drugs, medicine and science affect politics, culture, and society. That is why I made Eden such a popular drug. It drops your weight to your ideal lean body weight without the effort of diet or exercise. Eden is a means to look at our culture that worships beauty and physical perfection, and at our society that can’t stop over eating and increase their physical activity; a world where corporate interests have led to addictive foods laden with high fructose corn syrup, fats and salt.

But Shadow of Eden also takes the reader deep into the heart of international politics, of a president faced with a Tiananmen like massacre in China and how he chooses to manage it. I look at the US political system and ask is it able to check the fulsome advance towards armed conflict whenever the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces deems it? And what if the decision to engage our forces is based on a misguided or erroneous judgement? What then?

Shadow touches on many issues we face today yet tells a compelling and entertaining story with a fast paced narrative style with well rounded characters, villains, situations and chillingly real science. I hope you enjoy it!

Louis Kirby
Paradise Valley, Arizona

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