WINNER - Bronze Medal
2018 International Book Award
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About the book
You may not know who I am, but you know what I’ve done. I’m the one who altered human conception around the world in an unimaginable way, unimaginable to all but me—a seed planted while I was young. People had to be punished for what they did. The punishment had to be specific. I became a medical doctor, researcher, and vindicator of the verbal, physical, and sexual assaults perpetrated against women by men for eons. Including me. I’m not alone in my work. A great number of women share my ultimate goal. All except one. I’ll find the betrayer. Until then, men are beginning to pay for their sins against us. And I’m just getting started. Dr. Katherine Eris Barnes—remember my name. Although, I don’t know how you’ll be able to forget it.
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The First Conception: Rise of Eris
"Envisioning the end of the world seems like a common pastime for modern writers, but Nesly Clerge takes a very different approach in his new novel, The First Conception: Rise of Eris. Humanity hasn’t been subjected to a zombie outbreak or devastating climate change, but rather the inability to reproduce – not so much as a mysterious malady, but as an act of revenge.
After a lifetime of being abused and disrespected – physically, emotionally, mentally, and professionally – and seeing it happen to other women across the world, Dr. Katherine Eris Barnes decides to take matters into her own hands. She wants to ensure that men, and society as a whole, realize the terrible mistakes they’ve made, and feel the pain of having control wrested from their grasp. The form that this punishment takes is unique, which is where the sci-fi or dystopian elements of the story appear, which are both timely and prescient.
Given that the setting of this novel is so recognizable, the idea that a group of angry women seeking revenge might be able to have such a drastic effect on the future of the species is not too farfetched. Despite being written by a man, this novel strikes a powerful chord about the treatment of women both in the past and present, leaving readers with plenty to consider about their own actions, and the current treatment of women overall.
Not purely a message-driven novel, the plot is fast-paced and the writing is clean, swinging deftly between thought-provoking philosophy and creative narration. It sets up a new series excellently, with many more storylines and ideas to explore within this intriguing premise."
---John Staughton, SPR
"The author of the addictive Amazon #1 bestselling psychological thriller The Anatomy of Cheating shows his narrative range in his latest outing, The First Conception: The Rise of Eris. In an alternate reality, a genetically engineered blight has caused most of humanity to become infertile. As in vitro techniques fail, the human race faces inevitable extinction.
The fear of mass infertility has been a common sci-fi theme over the past few decades, including P. D. James’ novel The Children of Men, Margaret Atwoods’ The Handmaid’s Tale and the upcoming The Completionist by Siobhan Adcock. With The First Conception, author Nesly Clerge has written a worthy entry into the canon. But unlike Atwood, James or Adcock, the cause of infertility isn’t caused by an environmental disaster, but rather, by a powerful team of women who have had enough of male dominance and sexual abuse.
The book focuses on traumatized molecular biologist Dr. Katherine Eris Barnes, the child of a poor single mother with a dizzying array of abusive lovers. Clerge’s depiction of Barnes’ home life is remarkable for its psychological and physical brutality, but the result is a smart, imaginative revenge fantasy wrapped in a terrifying medical thriller. While Barnes cops to her plot to destroy humanity in the very first chapter, discovering how she does it – and why – is well worth the journey.
Book clubs will surely argue over whether her actions are fully justified, but there’s no denying the timing of this book in the social zeitgeist. If The First Conception had been written by a woman, some would surely call it the ultimate #metoo thriller. But in Clerge’s capable hands, it’s still an excellent start to a promising trilogy. Bravo.
The Bottom Line: One of the year’s best thrillers."
---Bella Wright, Best Thrillers
"If you’ve read any of Nesly Clerge’s other books…there are five of them, including a trilogy…you know what to expect from The First Conception: Rise of Eris when it comes to riveting, compelling characters, single-minded motivation, a plot that keeps you forever in suspense, and twists you won’t see coming. That’s the magic and skill of Nesly Clerge’s writing. In The First Conception: Rise of Eris, Clerge takes on those men who have an ingrained sense of entitlement when it comes to women i.e. men have the absolute right to women’s bodies, who think they don’t need to ask permission. These men abuse, rape, molest and, in their wake, leave women forever scarred, frightened, suffering from PTSD and unable to tell others what happened to them.
One such woman is Katherine Eris, raped by her stepfather and others, and who, as a child, watched her mother being abused by one man after another. Katherine grows up determined to change the way men treat women. More than that, she is determined to make them suffer as she, her mother and so many others did. With her brilliant mind and medical skills, working in secrecy with hundreds of others like her, she works to pull off the impossible: finding a way for men to give birth while women remain childless for years, meaning ultimately the possible extinction of people on earth! Is she insane? Does this group of motivated women achieve their goal? What is the result? And what is the real story behind Katherine Eris? You have to read to the very end of the book to find the answer to that last question. It’s the twist you never see coming.
The current statistics on sexual abuse of girls and women are unforgivable. No wonder the #MeToo movement has caught on like wildfire and none too soon. Victims of abuse who support that movement will relate to so much of the thinking behind what Katherine Eris and her colleagues hope to achieve and why. Most likely, you won’t be able to put down The First Conception: Rise of Eris. I most certainly couldn’t. Another 5-star brilliant novel from Nesly Clerge. Read it!"
---Viga Boland, Readers' Favorite
2017 & 2018 International
Book Award Winner
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