In the second installment of Dewey’s (The First Book of the Pure, 2014) sci-fi series, a group of powerful, gifted people battle over an ancient artifact that could devastate humanity.
This series’ previous entry introduced a colorful cast of characters hailing from a multitude of historical periods and geographic locations, including Gheret, a wise hunter-gatherer from ancient North America; Gheret’s son, An’Kahar; Ruby, a tough, clever woman who survives the Salem witch trials and mates with An’Kahar; Karl, a brutal leader who conquered England during the Dark Ages; Karl’s son, Robert; Maximus, a Roman soldier and philosopher; and the legendary Apache leader Geronimo. They all have one thing in common: they belong to a seemingly immortal species known as Pures who heal rapidly from injuries and are immune to illness, allowing them to amass great wealth and knowledge over their lengthy lives. Occasionally, though, they need decades-long naps to recuperate, or have deadly clashes with rival Pures. Now, in 1992, while treasure hunting at sea, Gheret comes across an ancient vial containing a viral agent that, when combined with two others, could drastically shorten the already brief life spans of normal humans. Naturally, the power-hungry Karl wants to obtain these vials and use them for evil purposes. To save humanity, Gheret must convince the other Pures to trust one another, band together, and annihilate Karl. As in the first book, it all climaxes in a massive, violent showdown between the Pures, and the carnage is suitably epic. However, Dewey’s characters take far too many stops along the way to this moment. Readers may grow impatient with side plots, such as a trip into the desert to dig up some of Geronimo’s old gold, which take up many pages while barely moving the complicated plot forward. On the plus side, the Pures share emotional and funny moments that serve to humanize these godlike creatures in ways that were sorely missing from the first book. The novel ends in a bizarre but action-packed cliffhanger that should keep readers on the hook for the next installment.
A sloppy sequel that nonetheless improves on some of the weaknesses of its predecessor.