The Machinery of Light

I didn't think that it was humanly possible for David J. Williams to come up with something even more action-packed than both The Mirrored Heavens (Canada, USA, Europe, AbeBooks) and The Burning Skies (Canada, USA, Europe, AbeBooks), but somehow the author managed to outdo himself. I called the second volume a veritable train wreck, and The Machinery of Light takes it up a couple of notches. This final installment is another balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred, the-shit-has-hit-the-fan kind of book that pulls out all the stops!

Here's the blurb:

With The Machinery of Light, David J. Williams completes his furiously paced, stunningly imagined trilogy - a work of vision, beauty, and pulse-pounding futuristic action.

September 26, 2110. 10:22 GMT. Following the assassination of the American president, the generals who have seized power initiate World War Three, launching a surprise attack against the Eurasian Coalition's forces throughout the Earth-Moon system. Across the orbits, tens of thousands of particle beams and lasers blast away at one another. The goal: crush the other side's weaponry, paving the way for nuclear bombardment of the cities.

As inferno becomes Armageddon, the rogue commando unit Autumn Rain embarks on one last run. Matthew Sinclair, an imprisoned spymaster, plots his escape. And his former protégé Claire Haskell, capable of hacking into both nets and minds, is realizing that all her powers may merely be playing into Sinclair's plans. For even as Claire evades the soldiers of East and West amid carnage in the lunar tunnels, the surviving members of the Rain converge upon the Moon, one step ahead of the Eurasian fleets but one step behind the mastermind who created Autumn Rain - and his terrible final secret.

Oddly enough, I remember commenting that one of the shortcomings of The Mirrored Heavens was its lack of depth compared to the breakneck pace of the exciting action sequences. The Burning Skies revealed just how complex a tale this series truly was, setting the stage for one terrific finale. Well, it turns out that The Machinery of Light is even more multilayered and convoluted than the first two volumes combined. Filled to the brim with unanticipated twists and turns, Williams has the uncanny ability to switch things around when you least expect it, taking the story on a different path you never would have guessed. The man appears to relish the thought of pulling the rug from under his readers' feet every chance he gets, keeping us guessing and second-guessing throughout the novel. World War III is just the backdrop of this tale. To a certain extent, it's just a diversion as the truth about Matthew Sinclair and Autumn Rain is revealed.

The rhythm is pedal-to-the-metal from start to finish. There is not a single lull in the action, making The Machinery of Light a page-turner that is well nigh impossible to put down!

As the Manilishi, Claire Haskell remains the central character of the novel. And yet, as all hells break loose, a panoply of POV and non-POV characters have an integral role to play in the endgame. With storylines built on so many layers of deceit, the different perspectives of various characters are required to help make sense of all that is occurring. As such, it helped carry the myriad plotlines forward to have Strom Carson, Leo Sarmax, Stefan Lynx, as well as a number of other protagonists as point of view characters.

The Machinery of Light is divided into five parts. As was the case with its predecessors, there are no chapters. The narrative jumps from one POV to another in rapid succession, with each POV portion rarely exceeding a single page. Flipping from one quick sequence to the next will make your head spin. Like all good rollercoaster rides, all you can do is hang on tight and keep going till you reach the end. Which comes all too rapidly, what with such a pace maintained throughout the novel.

The Machinery of Light is a another fantastic blend of military science fiction and cyberthriller that should appeal to fans of Richard Morgan and William Gibson. By bringing this complex series to a close with such a bang, David J. Williams proved once and for all the he is for real. I'll be lining up for whatever he writes next.

Intelligent and exhilarating in equal measures, The Machinery of Light features enough politicking, backstabbing, action and explosions and battles to satisfy anyone looking for a good science fiction yarn that goes all out.

The final verdict: 8.25/10

For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe, AbeBooks

4 commentaires:

BStearns said...

Wow, sounds like I seriously need to pick up his books. Thanks so much Pat!


Chris V said...

Ha! This book was already on my list for having a great cover, now you are telling the story is fun too! I guess ill have to bump it a few places up the list.

Mike Johnstone said...

I just finished The Mirrored Heavens, and am eager to get to The Burning Skies as soon as possible.

I've got a post up on The Mirrored Heavens, actually:

It's great to know that The Machinery of Light continues what I think is so successful in MH. I agree, the tale Williams tells is multilayered and complex -- not just for the breakneck pacing and the switching between POV characters and the unfolding of the various people and groups involved in the events, but for the political undertones (even overtones, it seems, by MoL) at work in the series' central themes and in the future Williams envisions.

Williams, I think, achieves something quite remarkable. One can read these books as gripping "pedal-to-the-metal" action and revelations and get a whole bunch of satisfaction. One can also read these books as a challenging, provocative commentary on recent and current world politics, and also get a whole bunch of satisfaction. Much like the story's concern with evolving layers of conspiracy and control, MH reveals much happening beneath its gritty, riveting surface(es) upon reflection.

Great review, Pat! I believe you've convinced me to get The Burning Skies sooner rather than later, just so I can then get to The Machinery of Light. :-)

Erik Huntoon said...

I just finished a second reading of both Mirrored Heavens and Burning Skies before sinking my teeth into Machinery of Light. All I can say is this series is a serious thrill ride that I hated to see end. When it was all said and done, I found myself trying to cope with the scope of the entire series and pondered over it for hours. That's honestly not something that many books get me doing when I turn the last page. Highly recommended!