The fate of humanity may be worse than death in this involving conclusion to Bohacz’s (Immortality, 2007) two-part techno-thriller.
Two years have passed since the events of Immortality, when nanotech-plague kill zones reduced the population of the world to a slight fraction of what it had been. No natural disease, the plague was unleashed by the god-machine—an ancient, sentient network housed in supercolonies across the globe—whose inscrutable calculations showed it was to the benefit of Earth for the human population to be pruned back. Although the time of kill zones ended as abruptly as it began, only a few people know the truth—and that truth is a liability the recovering governments cannot allow the public to hear. Dr. Kathy Morrison, a former scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who first studied the kill zones, now lives in a small settlement of scientists in Pueblo Canyon, Ariz., eking out an existence and hoping to stay beneath the government’s radar. The biologist Dr. Mark Freedman lives there, too, as well as former police officer Sarah Mayfair, one of the few to survive after being inside a kill zone. But Mark and Sarah are hybrids now, with the nanotech seeds of the god-machine steadily replacing their biology with nanotechnology, making them smarter, faster and active peripherals in the god-machine’s “n-web network,” the wireless neurological interface carried by bacteria into nearly all multicelled creatures on earth. Across the n-web, Mark and Sarah feel a pull—a “singularity,” as Mark calls it, “like a black hole…sucking in all the data from the n-web around it”—that they’re drawn to investigate. Mark and Sarah leave their refuge on a quest that takes them across the nation and toward a terrifying conclusion. The horrors of the plague, they realize, were only a harbinger of more disasters. Meanwhile, Kathy, fearing what her ex-patient, Sarah, and lover, Mark, were becoming, stays behind only to be discovered by “Peacekeeper” forces under the direction of Gen. McKafferty, a misguided patriot who holds these three responsible for the death of millions; he’ll stop at nothing to capture them. Blending fierce action, twisted conspiracies and bold “transhumanist” visions, Bohacz once again drives readers through a whirlwind in which even the characters aren’t sure if their thoughts are their own or if they were installed by the god-machine. Though the novel occasionally falters under the weighty exposition of its own ideas, Bohacz constantly raises the stakes, and the crisp dialogue and well-drawn characters keep the story barreling forward.
If you thought Immortality was powerful, just wait until you read the sequel.