THE SECOND ANGEL by Philip Kerr
Kirkus Star

THE SECOND ANGEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unpredictable Kerr's latest (A Five-Year Plan, p. 287, etc.) is a wildly ambitious space opera set in a future grimly colored by the specter of an AIDS-like virus. A hundred years after the first moon landing, things aren't looking so rosy for planet Earth. Global warming has dumped tons of the Greenland ice cap into the Atlantic, killing the Gulf Stream that used to warm Europe. A painstaking series of footnotes explains why there are no dogs, no wine, no fertility for most men, and no hope for most people infected with P, a deadly virus that's stricken 80% of the population, prompting furious battles over control of the blood supply and unprecedented polarization of the human race. But life is good for Dana Dallas, the chief designer for Terotech, a firm that builds security systems for protecting precious stores of untainted blood, the basis of the 21st-century economy. Wealthy and successful, Terotech's golden boy and heir-apparent to the present CEO, Dallas has it made, until the one flaw in his otherwise perfect life turns him into a fugitive from justice, hunted by the law and by contract killers. Building an unlikely but familiar coalition of rebels--an ex-con pilot, a one-armed wife-murderer, a pair of professional criminals, and one of the killers Terotech has set on his trail--Dallas implausibly swears revenge on the system: he'll break into the impregnable First National Blood Bank on the moon and sell its vast reserves on the black market. Even though Dallas, who designed the security system for First National, knows its weaknesses better than anyone, his plan will require a harrowing stint in a virtual-reality simulator and a break-in endangering every one of his buddies. But who's the olympian narrator chronicling every step of this elaborate caper? Cobbling together leftovers from Robert Heinlein and The 39 Steps, Kerr gilds them all with his trademark philosophical speculations and comes up with a story vastly more provocative in its vision of the politics of blood and cybernetics than its workaday plot would suggest.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Henry Holt