(Tor, hardback, September 2004.)
1] SF thriller, set in the same world as 2002's Archform Beauty -- but this one's better, I thought.This is a thoughtful, well-done 25th century[
An ex-Marine commando, now an advertising consultant(!), gets caught up in a web of political intrigue when he accepts a seemingly-innocuous consulting assignment. In what is (in retrospect) a weak, ad-hoc auctorial plot-pusher, the ruthless Secret Masters of Earth and Mars decide to make a patsy of ex-Col. Dr. Jonat deVrai, then murder him. DeVrai turns out, unsurprisingly, to be both hard to kill and good at turning the tables on his attackers. Besides having a curiously apposite surname.... <G>
This is all pretty basic, plot-boiling stuff, but Modesitt makes the book more intriguing by going deeply into his protagonist's life, and makes 25th century ad-consulting sound pretty interesting. Really. Plus there's a heavy dose of quotidien details that I (mostly) liked, setting up some startlingly-effective juxtapositions. On an 'interesting' day, deVrai's 'To Do' list might read:
There are the customary Modesitt ruminations re what's a good guy to do if the system won't stop the bad guys? Answer: "Get them before they get you." DeVrai also gets involved with an unusual police AI and its attractive cydroid remote, Paula Athene(!), in a clear setup for a sequel or two. Jonat de Vrai's not quite up to Johan Eschbach, the very resourceful environmental-economist protagonist in Modesitt's excellent "Tangible Ghosts" trilogy, but he's cut from similar cloth.
Recommended for Modesitt and political-thriller fans. "A-"
My reviews of the "Tangible Ghost" series:
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© Peter D Tillman 21 May 2005