In a dystopic America, a data analyst finds himself hunted by his own company following his viewing of mysterious, otherworldly images on a camera card.
In this final installment of Scott’s (Tracking Terra, 2011, etc.) trilogy, a future surveillance-state America boasts implanted GPS trackers and nonstop monitoring of citizens by sinister corporations. And every corporation here seems to be evil (except maybe Home Depot). Daren Alec Kyle, aka Dak, displays advanced visual pattern recognition and 3-D acuity after a youthful head injury. He’s an intel asset for rogue corporation Cascade, which asks him to assess an old camera card ominously found amid human bones in the Arizona desert. The murky and incomplete pixels show odd circular shapes and could be anything. Dak subsequently suffers a night visit from his own doppelgänger apparition warning that the pictures are about “survival.” That’s enough for Cascade to turn on Dak, making him a fugitive. Fortunately, since “paranoia had become my middle name,” the resourceful (but nonviolent) Dak subscribes to an elite security firm that helps him during his cross-country odyssey to Florida as he deals with pursuit and betrayal by faceless foes and seeming friends. Dak intuits a connection between his plight and the hot topic of “Planet X,” aka Nibiru, a mythic 10th planet with a 22,000-year orbit, its intrusions bringing extinction-level catastrophe. He meets Kisha Anderson, whose own malevolent corporation makes her hype the Planet X theory while scheming to discredit her. Scott’s tale is Kafkaesque indeed; only in the latter half does the Shirley MacLaine–esque heroine of Tracking Terra enter from stage left. She’s Sara Alessa Giustino, a beautiful, ageless “Ascended Master” type, groomed more than 500 years ago by aliens to safeguard Earth’s evolution. This third installment of the author’s New Age–y trilogy unites elements from previous volumes while reading—mostly—like a stand-alone. Readers who expect this closer to be an apocalyptic showdown between good and evil instead get a muted finale, with Dak’s Pilgrim’s Progress–esque ascension to cosmic discipleship rather than the destruction of a Death Star manqué. With super-Sara in the mix, the story is almost akin to a Wonder Woman adventure that focuses more on mortal boyfriend Steve Trevor than Amazonian heroine Diana Prince.
A paranoid sci-fi fantasy that takes a spiritual turn; poolside reading for ashram fans.