What is Areopagus?
Because Second Eden was written over twenty years ago, it doesn’t mention Curiosity, the current and active Mars probe. (The others noted in the excerpt below were added as the long path to publication dictated that current events compel updates.) But you can think of Areopagus as the follow-on to Curiosity. In the story, however, it brings back much more than just soil samples.
From the Prologue of Second Eden:
“Neat trick, that. The Mars shot, I mean.” And truly he thought it was: Shoot a probe to Mars, have it land, pick up soil samples, then fly itself back home. He felt his body tense. “There’s something I’ve got to tell you—”
Bo took a slug of beer. "Areopagus will pick up where the Vikings left off in seventy-six. Nothing else we’ve done since has been as good. Not the Global Surveyor. Not the Odyssey. Not Spirit or the any of the Rovers. Oh, we got nice pictures, all right. But only actual soil samples will tell us for sure if there’s life on Mars—or ever was....”
What does Areopagus mean?
The Latin form of the Greek word is rendered as "Mars' hill." But it also denotes the council or court of justice which met in the open air on the a rocky heights to the west of the Acropolis at Athens. As such, Areopagus has connotations not just of a Mars explorer but also inklings of the Judgment Day, which in Second Eden has more of a “watershed event” connotation than any religious meaning.
Second Eden Book Cover Synopsis:
Envy. Deceit. Murder. War. Can human nature ever change? Will mankind take a fateful evolutionary leap and become a new species? Or are we doomed by our genes to forever spin on what the Hindus term the Wheel of Life?
A mystery as deep as the origins of thought. A clash of worldviews more profound than Islam vs. Christianity. An unlikely hero, an even more unlikely heroine. In SECOND EDEN two very different personalities are thrust together by strange fortune in a desperate struggle for personal survival that soon becomes a fight for all mankind.
When a book in an alien language is brought back by a Mars probe, a secret government society whose roots reach back to the beginning of the Cold War sees the manuscript as a threat to national security. But could an alternate interpretation point to the approach of an epochal crossroads for humanity?
And when the ancient text is finally deciphered, will truth be the ultimate victim, or will we have the courage to face a human history no one could have suspected?