Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams (Autumn Rain 1) a Review

This is the action packed first book in a new cyber-thriller series, Autumn Rain.

It starts out as one of those super action packed first scenes in a Hollywood Block Buster but here it feels like it never stops. Put a handful major characters, one mega conspiracy or two and the intrigue and mysteries of a Le Carré cold war spy thriller into the mix and splatter it out on a canvas of world-wide insurrection, high technology and dystopian cityscapes and you have a feeling what this book is.

In the 22nd century, the first wonder of a brave new world is the Phoenix Space Elevator, designed to give mankind greater access to the frontier beyond Earth. Cooperatively built by the United States and the Eurasian Coalition, the Elevator is also a grand symbol of superpower alliance following a second cold war. And it’s just been destroyed.

With suspicions rampant, armies and espionage teams are mobilized across the globe and beyond. Enter Claire Haskell and Jason Marlowe, U.S. counterintelligence agents and former lovers—though their memories may only be constructs implanted by their spymaster. Now their agenda is to trust no one. For as the crisis mounts, the lives of all involved will converge in one explosive finale—and a startling aftermath that will rewrite everything they’ve ever known—about their mission, their world, and themselves.

Plot

The terrorist organisation Autumn Rain it trying to destroy the world as we know it, by blowing things up and launching attacks on the super powers that are running the show. Our protagonists are out to stop them. As is to be expected in a spy thriller the plot is not as it appears and the ending is surprising.

The story keep switching between the different characters point of view. At times it can be confusing and a bit frustrating when something is about to happen in one timeline and it switches over to another, fortunatley the chapters are short.

Characterization

Claire Haskel and Jason Marlowe are two of the protagonists. They are teamed up with Jason as the Mech, a heavily armed stealthed battle armor equipped action part of the team, and with Claire as the Razor, an electronic countermeasure offensive, stealth enhancing and information gathering part, that seems to be the standard operative setup. A hacker named Haskel is a nice touch (Haskel is a programming language).

The false memory tread where Marlowe and Haskel discuss that they keep geting false memories downloaded was interesting but confusing. Can they be sure of anything? They used to be lovers, or did they? This is never followed through, or did I miss something?

The heavily modified (cyborg) agent called the Operative is running a deep undercover mission in parallel.

Carson is another agent that is flushed from cover and blackmailed into helping Linehan, an operative on the run from Autumn Rain.

This is a story with many protagonists, or maybe only two? The never ending action makes you not noticing the lack of character depth, much. The voice of the characters are also a bit similar, this can be intended as they all come from the same spy world.

World building

The story begins in 2110. The world is dominated by the second cold war between the US and the Euroasian Coalition, they have divided the world in spheres of influence.  Europa, India and Ociania are trying to stay neutral.

The world building is great. David paints a gritty cyberpunky dystopian world that leaps out of the pages and punch the air out of you. It is a complex world that some times takes significant infodumps to explain, but thats okay with me.

The timeline of the world at the end of the book is quite enlightening and I wish I read that before I started  with the book. You can also learn more about the world on David’s website www.autumnrain2110.com

My view

Mirrored Heavens is a strong first novel by David J. Williams. He presents a chilly future high-tech world of espionage and double crossing that is more than entertaining, the characters are not very deep and at times the plot might feel a bit over complex at times but so far I like it. I already have volume 2 Burning Skies here waiting. I can recommend it if you like fast paced cyber thrillers.