A new CIA field operative joins a Black Ops training program whose leaders have targeted the government of a near-future America in Vincent’s debut dystopian thriller.
Isse Corvus, like any agent fresh off The Farm in 2022, has the option of training at The Abattoir. It’s a hard-core camp strictly off the grid, but grads reputedly earn the agency’s most dangerous and “frontline” jobs. Corvus opts in; he and the other newbs find themselves in an unknown jungle and quickly realize that it’s a fight for survival. Corvus has his own mission; CIA Station Chief Pelletier has sent him there to assassinate someone. But The Abattoir is more than a mere training camp. The program’s been secretly monitoring government officials like the National Security Agency director, Titus Montgomery, with a plan to take back the country from its tyrannical leaders. The novel opens in a haunting dystopia, in which the U.S. government tries to control its people, resulting in an America besieged by rioting citizens. It’s a perfect place to begin with Corvus, whose predicament becomes increasingly dire: he’s imprisoned and isolated in The Hole, a terrifying ordeal that pales in comparison to later events. Corvus is a protagonist with an ample back story; he was a hacktivist and also created a powerful artificial intelligence named Rose. There’s beaucoup action throughout, especially in the novel’s latter half, when The Minutemen, a liberation group, makes an aggressive move to stop quantum computers from obliterating the last of individuals’ privacy. But even the time in the jungle is crammed with intense, sometimes-brutal sequences. One of Corvus’ extended brawls has its own chapter. There’s also near starvation among the trainees; strange, armed men attacking the camp; and a head or two “kebabed on a skewer.” The book was clearly designed to kick off a series: it opens in 2026 before flashing back four years and gets nowhere close to catching up to its beginning.
An original voice launches this brooding, high-stakes series.