CAN you remember the first time you watched Star Wars, saw a lightsabre for the first time and thought I WANT ONE?!!
I have just had a similar experience after finishing the first novel by David J Williams, called The Mirrored Heavens.
What do I want? One of the kick ass suits of hi-tech battle armour that Williams’ characters use to shred any enemies that have the misfortune to cross their path. Think Iron Man on steroids with a bad attitude.
Forget Robocop – he’d be a pile of cogs and gears in no time – never mind 20 seconds to comply. The Terminator? A rusting bucket of bolts. These deadly suits had me wincing as they laid waste to entire bases of enemies.
They play for keeps, as do all the elements of Williams’ novel. A Brit living in America, he has created a rich and detailed 22nd century playground for us to explore, where the two superpowers – America and the Eurasian Coalition – are threatened by a sinister terrorist organisation, Autumn Rain.
So far, so Tom Clancy on acid. But where Williams stands out is the sheer thought, effort and depth he has put into his cyberworld and its denizens, most of which probably didn’t even make it into the novel.
First we have the mechs – the gung-ho wielders of the armoured suits. Then there are the Razors – supercharged hackers who jack into the Zone – a regionalised future Internet – from their own bodies.
The heroes and heroines are never sure who to trust as loyalties change at a bewildering speed, amid stand-out set piece battles on the moon and at the bottom of the ocean.
Williams maintains that pace through lightning sharp dialogue and a multi-layered narrative structure that does away with chapters in favour of leaping from character to character.
At times, this left me feeling as confused as the people struggling to survive in the story, but a shocking and shattering ending mean it is well worth the effort to keep up – even if I was shouting at the book to find out what would happen next!
This is Williams’ first novel, but I am certain it will not be the last and feel privileged to be in at the start of something big. For that I can thank Twitter, where David decided to follow me – and this site – and I first decided to read his book.
I’ll definitely be reading his second novel, but do you think Amazon will be able to get me some battle armour as well?