Friday, March 15, 2013

Review:Daylight on Iron Mountain by David Wingrove

In the year 2067 the Middle East has been pacified by a nuclear strike, all that remains between Tsao Ch'un’s vision of one worldwide city is the divided remnants of the United States of America. Ch'un chooses Jiang Lei, a rarity in being a genuinely honest man, to lead this campaign. Meanwhile Jake Reed has been having trouble adjusting to life inside Chun Kuo and is sure he is about to be made to 'disappear' like the other troublemakers. Unexpectedly an offer comes from GenSyn to work on creating a datascape for research purposes. However other forces have an interest in this as well. Twenty years later Tsao Ch'un decides to make war on the seven, his lead administrators, having driven them to think of deposing him through his tyrannical ways.

The novel is divided into two temporal periods set twenty years apart. There is no real flow between these periods, unlike the first novel, which gives the impression this second prequel is something of an info dump. Surprisingly the author does not go into details on any battles despite two wars taking place during these periods. Key scenes are left unwritten and the resolution to both wars remains murky. All of this makes the novel feel rushed.

On the plus side Wingrove characterisation is top notch. Even characters who only a single point of view scene are well fleshed out. The political machinations and the world-building are interesting but could have been expanded upon further.

Wingrove has created a top-notch world and interesting cast of characters but this second prequel suffers from rushed pacing and at times feels like filler. 7/10.

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