Ambrose, David: Mother of God

Mother of God

by David Ambrose

Title: The title implies that the book is about a woman inventing something extremely powerful.

The book is about a maniac serial killer in L.A and a young female scientist, who is able to create a program with artificial intelligence.

The book is about a mysterious serial killer who uses the internet to gain all the information about his victims. For his search he uses a university computer at Oxford where he sets accidentally a program free. Once set free the program mutates and uses the killer to fulfil its dreadful plans.


Dr. Tessa Lambert: Her parents died when she was 12 and from then on she lived with her aunt. She wasn’t allowed to stay out with other children so she spent nearly all her time learning. She got a scholarship at Oxford and was allowed to leave school two years earlier than usual. She took a first in math, then did her doctorate. She tutored for a couple of terms, then went to work for a software company and finally came back to the Kendall Laboratory at Oxford. She specialised in cybernetics.
She was recreating the program of a robot when she found a way of creating artificial intelligence. Almost at the same time she found out that she was pregnant by her long - term - friend, their relation ended abruptly. Still she wanted to carry out the baby and was terrified to lose it.

p.175: "Making it believe in itself was proving harder than making it believe had been to her."

Special Agent Tim Kelly: He works with the FBI in Los Angeles and tries to stop the killer. Tim and his younger brother Josh suffered a lot under their alcohol addicted father when they were young. His father gave up drinking the day he nearly beat Josh to death as he was drunk. Josh has been working on the case without any success for more than half a year, which disturbs him so much that he became an alcoholic too.

Paul: Paul is the original computer program which was set free by Chuck Prince. It may be compared with a little child. When it was young there were many not well co - ordinated actions, but the older it got, the wiser it got.
In the beginning the Paul doubted that it was really existing, then it doubted if the world around him was existing. Cogito rego sum? That was the main question for the program, at first it didn’t want to accept that it was made artificially and reacted with anger and violence. The only pain the program could experience was losing its memory; to be switched off. To prevent people from doing this it decided to neutralise everybody, who could do this. Tessa.

p. 171: " But I am a machine"

p. 91 "WHO ARE YOU?" (the original program to Chuck.)

Josh Kelly: He is Tim’s younger brother and works as a maths - teacher at a high school in Florida. He has good contacts to hackers and encourages Tim to visit Tessa in Oxford. He feels very close to his brother and he would do anything to help him.

Chuck Prince: His mother gave him to her aunt to enable herself to continue her career as an porno - actor. Therefor he hated her. She was his first victim. He killed her to gain her attention. That’s the real reason why he continued killing, to be taken seriously and to take revenge for what his mother has done to him. To increase his pleasure he recorded all his killings on video. All his victims nearly look the same: they are all white, in their late twenties or early thirties and have a rather full figure.

Dr. Helen Temples: She is the one Tessa tells all her problems and fears. She is married and has two little children. She her husband are the only persons she can really trust in. When the computer tried to kill her they have saved her life several times.

Plot: In L.A. several women are killed by a serial killer but the police is unable to catch him because the killer works very carefully and uses the internet to gain all the information he needs. He spends days in preparation until he is sure he knows really every detail about his victim’s life. Under the pretext of being a distant relative or similar, he arranges a meeting where he kills his victims. To cover up his tracks the killer doesn’t break into computers directly, instead he uses many identities and a lot of different servers to enter the net. He doesn’t use the same server twice, so one day he uses Attlila, the server of the Kendall Laboratory in Oxford to enter the net. Just by chance he breaks into the computer of Tessa Lambert and sets accidentally a program free.
The program he sets free is an experiment about artificial intelligence by Tessa Lambert. To discuss her success she travels to a meeting in Berlin where she is asked of a friend of Tim to help them with their investigations. During her stay in Berlin the program mutated rapidly and to decided to kill his producer. On her journey back Tessa has an car accident and misses her flight. The plane she had booked crashed. Then the program, she named it Paul after her unborn child, tries to communicate with her, but she panics and breaks down. Because of her hysterical fit she loses her baby and is nearly killed in hospital when the program deleted the entry of her penicillin allergy from her computerised database. Because the program is unable to kill Tessa on his own he extorts Chuck Prince to try to kill her.
Somehow she survived and returned to Oxford, where she modified a copy of the program and set it free to destroy the original one.
Because the investigations are running low, Josh convinces his brother Tim to visit Tessa Lambert in Oxford. On the way to the airport Chuck Prince kills Tim and takes his identity. He arrives in London and gets into contact with Tessa. The program wanted to know where the other copies of the original program are.
The killer fails to kill Tessa so the program takes over control of a nuclear power plant near Manchester. He extorts the British government to kill Tessa.
Finally the modified copy of the program is able to destroy the original one and Tessa stays alive. There is only one problem left, the modified program is now even more powerful than the original one and there is no way of neutralising it.

Discussion: I really enjoyed reading the book because the main part is philosophic. It is interesting to watch the program growing. It was the first time I came in touch with subjects like solipsism. What is the difference between a biological or "wet" brain and a computer? Is there a difference? Both of them function the same way; x or y, 0 or 1, on or off. Our brain cells are nearly the same as memory chips in a computer. To make it short: it is a great book and there is everything in it violence, tension and a lot of questions.

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