Anti-terrorism agent Miguel Mejia is caught between his duty and the voices in his head in Walton’s (APOK, 2013) second political thriller in a series.
In the near future, the world has united under one government, but not everyone is content with this arrangement. Unemployment worldwide has reached a record high, and the anti-government terrorist organization Sons of Liberty has launched a bombing campaign against civilians. Col. Miguel “APOK” Mejia is a leader in the mission to root out the terrorist threat, but after he’s severely injured in a bombing in Beijing, he awakens in a hospital. The first-ever global election is about to take place—a crucial test for the new order—and, as investigative reporter Carrie Warren is discovering, certain parties are willing to manipulate reporters to see their preferred outcome. Miguel’s friends, including Capt. Paula Connie, want him back on his feet to meet whatever threats lurk in the shadows, but he’s been behaving strangely since his injury. He’s been hearing a hoarse, accented voice in his ear—one that no one else can hear—and it’s been whispering disturbing threats. When it gives him instructions to assassinate World Leader Reficuel Nomed, it looks like the planet’s greatest asset in the fight against terrorism may become the greatest threat to world democracy. Walton’s detailed prose has an urgent tone throughout, and the worldbuilding and plot are both highly complex. However, his use of the present tense makes some passages feel more like a screenplay than a novel: “As the dashboard lights begin to fade, the driver’s door opens. A near-bare feminine body enters the warm air. She closes the door using her hips and surveys the exterior of the vehicle.” Also, the author never quite strikes a consistent balance between delivering and withholding information, leaving the reader frequently confused despite moments of clunky expository dialogue. The resulting flat characters and messy structure may make it difficult for readers to become fully invested in the story.
A sometimes-intriguing sequel that hits the ground running, but not every reader will wish to keep up with it.