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The Silk Code (Phil D'Amato #1)

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Phil D'Amato, an NYC forensic detective (also featured in several of Levinson's popular short stories), is caught in an ongoing struggle that dates all the way back to the dawn of humanity on Earth--and one of his best friends is a recent casualty. Unless Phil can unravel the genetic puzzle of the Silk Code, he'll soon be just as dead.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 15th 2000 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1999)
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Ed Mestre
Jan 12, 2009 Ed Mestre rated it liked it
Fooled again. I thought I was picking up a procedural detective mystery and ended up with far more. If I tried to describe its maze of modern day Neanderthals, Amish gangs, & an ancient silk cure for what ails our DNA many would think I was joking. In structure it's almost like it's 2 or 3 different books. An Amish murder mystery, an ancient chronicle, and a scifi world jaunt in search of the modern Neanderthals. Yet they are somehow all tied together.

I've got a feeling that no matter what
Snarktastic Sonja
After an argument with myself, I am settling on a 3* review. I found this book to be exceedingly frustrating. I just felt like it could have been so much better.

The story is about a genetic virus on a DNA level and it discusses DNA based technology used by the Amish. I found the concept fascinating. I did struggle to find a character to connect with emotionally, but settled on Phil and Jenna's relationship to relate with.

Phil is a forensic examiner. He and his friends/cohorts/colleagues discove
Nov 12, 2014 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: podiobooks
This... well, it's not open to the accusation of being the same-old same-old. Amish bioengineers help protect a New York forensic scientist from a kind of retrovirus created by Neanderthals. Who are still around, and still fighting us. In the middle of the book, we go back to the 7th century, where a Tocharian druid, a Jew, a Byzantine Greek and a Moslem walk into a bar... sorry, I mean, circumnavigate Africa in search of the Singers, another name for the Neanderthals. Silk is all over the place ...more
May 27, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plot-hook
This is a book whose beauty emerged for me in its later stages. It's a fairly contemporary (1980s setting?) SF thriller with more than a touch of horror. It's difficult to do justice to the Silk Code's greatest merits without revealing elements I'd consider spoilers. In avoidance of spoilers, this review is mostly my reading experience of this book.

The plot hook caught me from the beginning and I let myself go with the seemingly wild extremes of selective evolution what ifs. That was fun to do;
Jordan Mitchell
Feb 26, 2016 Jordan Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover caught my eye in the Mystery section of the library and I couldn't just leave it there so I picked it up and scanned the back. The book was full of the mysteriousness of ancient bio warfare and murder mixed with modern day forensics. The plot was intriguing and full of twists and turns. I had to bring it home. The story was set in New York and ancient times constantly switching back and forth explaining the plot and introducing the science and philosophy behind it. In the first few pa ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks

So far, a delight! Imaginative, clever, smooth writing. Who can ask for more? Alas! I have to put it aside to read a book related to my research on the book I'm writing: Dogs and Civilization. As soon as I finish that book--and get my next chapter written, I'll finish The Silk Code

As the above indicates, the first third of the book is excellent. It starts in the present day with fireflies bred to burn down houses. The entire book explores the possibilities of invention without using machinery,
Oct 21, 2010 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, audiobooks
My second audio book, and a very compelling story.

I was let down by the ending. It seemed rushed, as though the author decided "that's enough", and wrapped everything up in a few brief pages as quickly as he could. Yes, all the loose ends were wrapped up, but it was jarring.

Or... perhaps the reason I was let down was because I simply did not want this novel to end. It was literally fascinating. Each of the 3 sections had me scratching my head saying "this author cannot be serious", but he was. I
Jim Kratzok
The Silk Code left me with mixed feelings. I am generally fascinated by anything featuring Neanderthals, especially living ones in a modern setting. That was inventive but I didn't like the ending of the story and the final portrayal of the Neanderthal(s).

Some reviewers didn't care for the Tocharian interlude/sub-plot in the second part of the book. In my view, the rest of the story would have been meaningless without that part. Plus, it was a fascinating story in itself.

I don't know how to add
Carolyn E
Nov 27, 2012 Carolyn E rated it really liked it
The Silk Code is certainly an intriguing story. I enjoyed it. I was particularly impressed by the amount of research that must have gone into this story.

I am not a particular fan of science fiction. However, I noted that there are two more books in this series: The Consciousness Plague and The Pixel Eye. I am adding them to my "to be read" list for future reading.
Gary Alan Henson
Feb 16, 2015 Gary Alan Henson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful, sprawling, exotic read from Mr. Levinson!

Neanderthals still walk among us. Silk has powers unknown to modern science. The Amish have been bio engineering for hundreds of years.

These and other insightful, marvelous concepts keep this story moving forward at a steady pace.

Mr. Levinson's forensic detective Phil D'Amato is carried along on a wild ride through history and science.

It's fun ride, hop on and hang on!

Aug 05, 2012 Cynthia rated it liked it
Fascinating and confusing thriller that picks up on the the possibility that Neanderthal communities have survived to the present day, combined with the theory that before there was language there was the "hum" - a way of communicating feelings and social bonding. In other words, song preceded language. If you love music, you should also take a look at "The Singing Neanderthal" for an inspiring and detailed explication of this theory.
Jun 21, 2010 Hester rated it liked it
This entertaining book sounds like a train wreck. A cop's investigations land him in the middle of an ancient Amish versus Neanderthal high-low-tech war about genetic engineering(firefly bombs, anybody?) and silk as a cure to flaws in Neanderthal DNA. It is the perfect pulp novel and it is impossible to put down.
Ben Pashkoff
Ideas were really interesting, but way too much material for one book, there were enough in the way of story-lines to have made this 2-3 separate novels in a series - sometimes smaller bites to chew are easier to swallow.
Jul 07, 2012 Ali rated it really liked it
Wow! I was really surprised by how much I liked this book. It was a wonderful concept, and the intertwining of different cultures and time periods was fantastic. It wasn't perfect and I'm still a little confused about how it all worked, but still very good.
Kathleen Mccunney
I started reading this in bed. *grump* finished at 2 AM. Still it was good.
Jan 12, 2011 Jess marked it as to-read
A-Z Mystery Challenge by author: book L
Jun 26, 2015 Jackballoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Confusing, but interesting.
Lis Carey
Feb 21, 2011 Lis Carey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, mystery, fiction
This starts off as a police procedural. It ends as a police procedural. Along the way, there's this section set in the eighth century, without which it would still be science fiction, but you could still shelve it in the mystery section and probably no one would claim they'd been the victim of false advertising.

And I cannot dissuade myself from the notion that that eighth-century section, for all its inherent attractions as a section of a different novel entirely, in this novel is simply an unus
The Silk Code has the dubious distinction of being the worst-written book I've read in some time.

I blame my undergraduate training in English Literature, but I can read a book and address the workmanship of a book or story separate from how I experienced it as a reader. (I've read books that were well-written, even if I personally didn't *like* it. And I've read books that I enjoyed, even loved, that had serious stylistic or grammatical issues.) So it wasn't that I didn't like The Silk Code, alt
Couldn't finish this one. More of a YA science fiction.
While I liked the story and the characters, I felt disoriented when I was reading this. The first part is alright, the second one changes time and appears completely unrelated to the first part, to the point I though it was a short story book and not a novel. Then the third part takes us back to present day and about the middle of it there are some references to the second part. I think if after that references are done we are introduced to the second part story it would have made complete sense ...more
Gayle Noble
This book was equal parts fascinating and bewildering. I enjoyed the absurdity of it and the story clicked along at a fair pace, apart from the part which was set in the distant past, which I don't think added that much and was quite laborious to read compared to the rest.

So you have (view spoiler) Archaeology and Sci-fi: two of my favourite subjects! My main criticism is that the female characters didn't seem as fleshe
Jan 20, 2016 Laurel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio-book version of this several years ago because my husband said I should listen to it. I like reading better than listening because I can understand it better. At the time I listened to it I just thought it was OK, however, this is a book that I have thought about over and over. When I make my next Amazon order, I will probably be purchasing it so I can sit and read it through again. A cup of tea, lightning bugs, and seeing an Amish carriage all make me think of this book. ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Kogiopsis marked it as not-with-a-ten-foot-pole  ·  review of another edition
Signed this petition, displaying (along with everyone else on it) a startling lack of understanding of censorship, freedom of speech, and how asking others to behave like decent human beings is not, in fact, censoring them.
Jim Lane
Dec 19, 2015 Jim Lane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An imaginative take on genetic engineering and the fate of the Neanderthals is spoiled by poor plotting, awkward writing and stunted character development.

I really never got into this book, but slogged through 300 pages because I hate to start a book and not finish it.

I won't waste my time with another book by this author.
David Pullman
Apr 22, 2013 David Pullman rated it liked it
Interesting plot structure and characters. Easy and interesting to read. Thought it ended a bit abruptly.
May 16, 2013 William rated it did not like it
Rather poor science fiction. Not very logical. A dumb read, but somehow I finished it. I'll return the book to the recycle center where I got it but the garbage might be a better place to deposit it.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Dates approximate. I may have ended up skimming this one by the end.
Jeff Parker
Well developed plot with engaging characters. Fast paced and decent dialouge. While the premises is a little out there it is no more fantastic then any of Dan Brown or James Rollins works.
Feb 13, 2008 Kathleen rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Book is very disjointed and characters do not grip your attentio. Very disappointed as I had heard/read good things about author
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Paul Levinson, PhD, is an author, professor, and media commentator. His first novel, The Silk Code, won the Locus Award for best first science fiction novel of 1999. Entertainment Weekly called his 2006 novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, “challenging fun”. Both novels were reissued as "author's cut" ebooks in 2012, and Unburning Alexandria, sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates, was published in 2013 ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Phil D'Amato (3 books)
  • The Consciousness Plague (Phil D'Amato #2)
  • The Pixel Eye (Phil D'Amato)

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