The Machinery of Light by David J Williams (Autumn Rain 3)

Autumn Rain is more of a movie than a book series; it has been non stop action since book one in this cyber thriller. Here is the concluding book that takes the story to a higher plane. The plot twists are many and the revelations of secrets behind the secrets keeps on coming. Here is my take on The Machinery of Light and the whole Autumn Rain Trilogy.

Title: The Machinery of Lights
Series: Autumn Rain 3
Author: David J. Williams
Cover art: Raphael Lacoste
Genre: Space Opera
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books / Spectra (Random House) May 2010
Copy: Bought by me
Order from: Random House | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

My reviews of earlier books: Mirrored Heavens, Mirrored Heavens, Burning Skies

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.


The book is dedicated to the Muses.

At the beginning of the book is a Map of the Earth-Moon System at the Eve of WW3.

The main characters are the same. Claire Haskel is the Holy Grail all the powers want to put their hands on, she is the super razor that would tip the balance of power to the advantage of anyone in control of her. One of the problems are that not even she herself knows which powers she has.

World building

Surprising revelations about the universes.


The Third World War is upon us, convinced they have first strike capability Stephanie Montrose and Jhared Szilard’s American forces open up on the European (Russian-Chinese) Coalition. But the coalition has secret bases in the Himalayas…

Autumn Rain might have been decimated in Burning Skies but they are still a force to be reckoned with as is the man behind their creation Matthew Sinclair. He might be a prisoner out of choice…

One team we get to follow is sent to infiltrate the Himalayas and the European secret base there. I can’t tell you what they find but this was a very cloak and dagger part of the story I enjoyed. It reminds me of classic spy thrillers.

Another team is sent to infiltrate the american fleet (same here, great cloak and dagger)

While Claire tries to keep out of being captured while being hunted by all the fractions and find the truth behind it all. This is the main thread. Clair is on a journey of self discovery. She is a created being with hidden powers and back doors that let others affect her but she is also on the track of the man with all the answers.

There are double crosses and secret allegiances in abundance.

Eventually the true mastermind is revealed with an astonishing and mind blowing conclusion.


There is some more depth to the characters in this book than before, especially when it comes to Claire. Some of what I have lacked before comes to light as the characters background and underlying motivations are revealed. I am a bit divided about this since to keep it secret until now made for a great surprise but made the characters harder to understand and more two dimensional in the previous books, but I do believe the author made the better choice as it makes for a better story.

A theme in the series is characters that are unsure of themselves and their own memories; Characters that hack each other and allegiances that sway back and forth. All the main characters have been changed without full knowledge what they have become or who is in control. And all the main characters have gone on a journey of discovery and personal growth as revealed in The Machinery of Light.

My View

Autumn Rain is mind-blowing world-changing non-stop neck-breaking cloak-and-dagger cyber-thriller action. Think Hollywood blockbuster action meets Le Carré’s deviousness and many layers in the 22nd-Century. I have not read many stories like this; the action parts reminds me of a novel by Australian thriller writer Matthew Reilly – Area 7 (MaxMillian 2001) that has the same kind of intense action; the plot twists of Le Carré; and the science fiction is David J. Williams own. This is hard gritty science fiction up to the end that is borderline fantasy. This is perfect summer reading on one level – non stop action but I would recommend a quiet corner or beach so you can keep track of all the twists and turns.