Book Title: Cassandra’s War: A Sci-Fi Corporate Technothriller – The SynCorp Saga, Book 2
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2018
Available on: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and as an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Following up directly after the events of “The Lazarus Protocol”, Book One in The SynCorp Saga, Earth finds itself in dire straits as the freak weather continues to ravage the world. Somehow, the United States is unscathed and other countries are getting angry that they are bearing the brunt of the devastation. As a secret plan to save humanity is put into motion, Cassandra and her followers, the New Earth Order (known as the Neo’s), plot to foil this plan and save Earth from humanity… by exterminating the Earth’s population so the Neo’s can repopulate it themselves!
In the meantime, Anthony Taulke has a plan to save Earth and fix what went wrong with his nanite solution utilized during the Lazarus Protocol. On the Moon, Ming Quinlao is on the run while her aunt is trying to find her and assassinate her! All of these storylines dovetail into and out of each other culminating into a stunning, action-packed finale.
This book is more action-oriented than the first one. The first one had the burden of setting up this world, explaining its characters and developing the main plot of this trilogy. It did so adroitly, freeing up this second novel to expand on what came before without being bogged down in the details of world building. Sometimes, world building can slow down a narrative if it’s not done right but thankfully, the first novel was a perfect blend of that and of introducing the main characters. Unfettered by this, the novel moves swifter than its predecessor while also telling a suspenseful story of its own, carrying it overarching plot forward.
And what a story! The US military, under the leadership of Colonel Graves, plans to save humanity. The Neo’s conspire to infiltrate the military, while Taulke schemes to save the world with some unusual ideas and even more unusual allies. Graves and Cade are given a lot to do here and play a very large role in the explosive finale of this novel. Both of them continue to be developed as characters as their roles continue to expand.
And then there is Luca Vasquez, a new character who’s a researcher working on a mysterious government project which has unforeseen implications for everyone involved in the plot. Where her role goes is a true surprise and I liked how her job became increasingly important over time.
Taulke’s storyline involves some corporate maneuvering with his son as well as his mission to save Earth, which he won’t let go of. His desire to rectify what happened in book one shows true compassion for his planet, even as he develops a strategy on how to save it. And his story also appears to have major ramifications for the entirety of the SynCorp Saga.
But the most intriguing journey here continues to be Ming Quinlao’s. Here, she is given a startling transformation over the course of the novel as she moves from being a victim of corporate maneuvering to becoming a dominating force of nature. She also learns a startling revelation that propels her story forward in unexpected ways. I really enjoyed this change, as it is emotionally driven and also becomes a crucial part of the finale that I really enjoyed reading.
As if Earth being wracked with destructive weather was not tense enough, this book brings it to the next level as Cassandra’s plot is exposed, we learn more about Cassandra herself and how the US military plans to retaliate against them. The final sequences were an electrifying series of events that involve a complicated, desperate and innovative space battle. The high stakes tension is so thick, the page-turning became more vigorous as I wondered who would live and who would die. There is plenty of military action in this novel and the finale was pitch-perfect in how it unfolded and held me with rapt attention.
While this is a complete work, it also sets the stage for the final book in the trilogy and furthered all the plot points laid out in the first two novels. It also evolves some of the seeds planted and lets them grow into some awesome surprises I would never have expected. This book is even better than the last one, which set a very high standard, indeed. The corporate scheming was still present and it meshed well with the military objectives and fighting amongst all the different factions vying to complete their objectives.
The SynCorp Saga will be a set of three trilogies, each one taking place a generation after the last. This is book two in the first trilogy and it was a thrilling roller-coaster ride which also leaves some lingering questions that must be followed up on because I need to know what the answers are. I can’t wait to read it!
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by David Bruns & Chris Pourteau include the other novels in The SynCorp Saga: “The Lazarus Protocol“, “Serpent’s Fury“, “Masada’s Gate“ and “Valhalla Station“. Other reviews for their stories included in anthologies are “It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane!: A Superhero Anthology“, “World Domination: A Supervillain Anthology“, “Beyond the Stars – Unimagined Realms: a space opera anthology” and “Bridge Across the Stars – A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology.”