In this sci-fi thriller, an assassin embarks on a mission that could prevent an intergalactic war in the late 25th century.
Eight years ago, Lucy Okuda had been a prisoner in Synapse Biotech’s space lab. This was also her birthplace—doctors cloned her from the remains of Okuda Yoshiko, a female samurai warrior who died 13 centuries earlier. The Synapse-sanctioned organization, the Obsidian Order, had trained and forced Lucy, from a young age, to be an assassin. After escaping Synapse, she became a hired killer and currently handles jobs for the covert firm M-Prov Carnival Supply. But Lucy contemplates revenge against Synapse, particularly CEO Takeshi Yamata, upon learning that the company’s lab has her family sword and Yoshiko’s mummy (seemingly indicating another planned clone). Meanwhile, her latest M-Prov assassination assignment targets Jillian Caldwell, CEO of Lin Corp, one of the “big three” corporations among the universe’s various solar systems. This operation ultimately leads to another, perhaps more crucial one that involves an unusual theft. Joining Lucy are M-Prov administrator, Thomas Jalil, and his personal assistant, Bearcham McLeish, along with a client-provided combat robot. If they don’t complete their task within 60 days, there’s a strong possibility of war between the powerful corporations. This fourth installment of Hunt’s (A Step Too Far, 2016, etc.) series is essentially a stand-alone with some returning characters (for example, Jillian, from the author’s preceding novel). But there is a dense backstory that Hunt skillfully weaves into a consistently stirring plot of espionage and clashes. Lucy is an intriguing, complicated protagonist who intermittently experiences vivid “cellular memories” of Yoshiko. She’s likewise a formidable assassin with a katana as her preferred weapon. The author delivers searing action sequences that concentrate more on Lucy’s efficiency than the inexorable violence. Furthermore, the story delivers suspense (an assassination target gives a speech in public as readers anticipate when, or if, Lucy will strike) and a few genuine surprises throughout. The ending, while largely resolved, offers hints about the next volume in the series.
An extraordinary protagonist leads a solid, exhilarating futuristic tale.